Since Vladimir Putin launched his bloody attack on Ukraine on February 24, the war has escalated in gruesome ways. Russia’s aerial assault has pummeled cities, reducing apartment buildings to rubble. Some cities have become war zones. Across the country, everyday Ukrainians have risen up to try to stop the invasion, some taking up arms as part of a volunteer defense force. More have been forced to seek refuge from the fighting, everywhere from the Kyiv metro to cities that, as yet, have been untouched by violence. More than a million people have fled for neighboring countries.
The human toll of the war is still coming into view; more than 200 civilian casualties have been reported by the United Nations so far, but the real number may be much higher. Scenes on the ground, including in the capital city of Kyiv, where Russian forces have intensified their siege, have been wrenching: Ukrainians huddling in improvised bomb shelters, pledging to defend their embattled country, and scrambling to escape as Putin’s troops close in on major cities. “If they come here,” one 81-year-old man said from his Gorenka home, “I’ll jab them with a pitchfork if I don’t have weapons—but I do have weapons.”