After their initial advance stalled, Russian forces withdrew from around the capital towards their current lines. The Kremlin stated that the objective of the military operation had been the “liberation” of the Donbas all along.
In recent months, Ukraine has been able to make deft use of Western-supplied missiles to strike military targets in the occupied southern regions and Crimea with pinpoint accuracy over the summer.
The disruption of infrastructure and effective crippling of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea led the Russian command to move large numbers of beleaguered troops to the south.
It also saw reports in mid-August of tens of thousands of people, believed to be Russian, fleeing the Crimean peninsula after a series of explosions.