Scenes of ruin and resilience from 100 days of war in Ukraine

Border guards who are colleagues of Andriy Samusenko and Anton Myahkyi come to lay flowers on their graves in the village of Tykhonovychi in the Chernihiv region of Ukraine on May 17. (Kasia Strek/Panos Pictures for The Washington Post)
Border guards who are colleagues of Andriy Samusenko and Anton Myahkyi come to lay flowers on their graves in the village of Tykhonovychi in the Chernihiv region of Ukraine on May 17. (Kasia Strek/Panos Pictures for The Washington Post)

Friday marks 100 days since the first Russian troops invaded Ukraine and most Ukrainians’ world imploded — with untold numbers of civilians killed, some by torture, and thousands of homes, hospitals, schools and even entire communities destroyed. Though many Ukrainians resolved to stay and fight, several million men, women and children are now refugees in other countries.

Through it all, Washington Post photographers and reporters have captured the most telling moments of the war. The fighting has been defined by brutality, anguish and loss, yet even amid the suffering there have been flashes of normalcy and even revelry.

From the most recent moments of the war to the early days, the images and stories featured here show what the conflict has wrought during its first three months.

MAY

Russia made significant military gains in the eastern provinces as Ukrainian forces begged the West for more military aid. Civilians were evacuated from hospitals in the line of fire. Others were buried in cemeteries far from home.

The port city of Mariupol, under horrific siege since the early days of the war, finally fell to Russian forces — marking a strategic victory for an army initially hamstrung by logistical and tactical disorganization.

APRIL

In the second full month of fighting, the scope of Russian atrocities started to emerge.

After troops retreated from the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, The Washington Post documented more than 200 dead bodies. Many had been beheaded, burned, sexually abused or maimed.

Such findings intensified calls for war crimes investigations from U.S. and European officials.

MARCH

Air raid sirens sounded daily as Russia’s bombings intensified. Ukrainians began to adjust to life under war, fleeing their homes, living in bunkers, burying their dead. Those escaping Mariupol told stories of a city being reduced to rubble, with residents cut off from food and water.

Still, some communities managed moments of celebration. In Pokrovske, a wedding postponed so that the groom-to-be could join in the fighting was held at last. The newlyweds and their guests danced around bunches of sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine.

FEBRUARY

As its first tanks crossed the border into Ukraine on Feb. 24, Russia launched a full-scale invasion after months of denying such plans. Early strikes on apartment buildings and hospitals foreshadowed the impact the fighting would have on civilians.

Families quickly began to take shelter in subway stations. A trickle of departures threatened to become a flood as Ukrainians left the first cities under attack, boarding trains and traveling westward with their children, pets and most-precious belongings.

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