A Year into Russia’s Invasion, Survival in Ukraine is Still “Like a Lottery Ticket”

As the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches, Bellingcat and Scripps News take stock of the immense human cost.

From the use of cluster munitions in civilian areas to the countless missile strikes on key infrastructure and the mass graves that have been uncovered in towns occupied by Russian forces, the toll on Ukraine and its people has been staggering.

Yet Ukraine continues to resist. Its armed forces, with western weaponry, ejected the Russian military from several regions of the country – including some areas which Moscow illegally annexed after a sham referendum last September. 

In the video below, you’ll hear from Bellingcat researchers who have examined key cases of civilian harm over the past year – from the Bucha massacre to Russia’s missile strike on a shopping centre in Kremenchuk and a railway station in Kramatorsk. You’ll hear from three Ukrainian journalists on the ground who have covered such events, as well as a legal scholar who explains how Russia’s leadership could be prosecuted for the crime of aggression under international law.

As journalist Kristyna Berdynskykh put it: “life in Ukraine today feels like a lottery ticket. You could leave home one morning and never return”.

Bellingcat and its Global Authentication Project have been monitoring and logging incidents of civilian harm in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion. Our TimeMap aims to log all incidents where there is open source evidence of civilian harm from the war and can be viewed here.

Our wider Ukraine work can be viewed here, including investigations into the Russian military team responsible for programming missiles that have hit Ukraine, an assessment of some of the damage to cultural heritage sites caused by the invasion and analysis of some of the weapons systems that have hit civilian areas. 

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