Russia’s war in Ukraine has reached the 500-day mark on saturday, a grim milestone for a conflict that rages with no end in sight.
While the fighting had fallen largely into a stalemate, Ukraine’s government and it’s Western supporters hope a broad counteroffensive launched last month will change the battle lines and return Russian-occupied areas to Ukrainian control.
In the meantime, the war continues to take a heavy toll on the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people. And the stakes are only getting higher.
A month ago, a major dam that Russia controls in southern Ukraine collapsed, flooding an entire region with a toxic torrent that left death and destruction in its wake as well as long-term environmental consequences.
Fears of a nuclear disaster have increased, particularly this week after Ukraine and Russia accused each other of planning to attack one of the world’s largest atomic power plants.
Long-range missiles fired by Russia to deplete Ukraine’s air defenses have killed dozens of civilians, including many who were killed and wounded while dining in a pizza restaurant in the east and 10 who died Thursday when their apartment building in the western city of Lviv was struck while they slept.
An attempted mutiny by a Russian mercenary chief brought a taste of the war’s chaos to Moscow and exposed cracks in Russia’s military leadership, further raising the stakes.
Saturday marks 500 days since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. Peace talks are a long way off as both sides look to improve their hand, with Ukraine’s forces trying to recapture as much territory as they can and Russia intent on holding illegally annexed regions.
This selection of photographs shows some of the most crucial moments of the war.