When did the war between Russia and Ukraine start, and what was its causes and triggers? I have heard different dates. Some claim that it started on the 24 of February this year, while some claim that it started already for eight years ago. Can a war start at two different dates? Or are we talking about two different wars?

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    Technically the Korean war is still going on as only an armistice has been signed and there has been no official peace treaty signed. Wars can go on for a long time if nothing official id done to end them, that is of course assuming that they have been officially started.
    – Joe W
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 14:57
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    @JoeW Apparently, the lack of an official peace treaty does not mean that there is still a state of war, e.g. Russia and Japans has declared the end of state of war in 1956, but the peace negotiations ware still ongoing.
    – Morisco
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 15:14
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    @RogerVadim: and the reverse is probably true as well, one country backing out of the provisions of a peace treaty doesn't entail a return to war, as some people here think automatically happens... Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 16:49
  • @Fizz - as a recent question on History shows: history.stackexchange.com/questions/69161/… when Italy re-armed over the restrictions of the Treaty of Paris as it joined NATO (full disclosure - I have an answer there).
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 17:35
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    I voted to reopen. The stated close reason does not make sense: "Closed. This question is opinion-based. It is not currently accepting answers. Update the question so it can be answered with facts and citations. ". Even the existing answers give facts and citations. The question must have been closed by mistake. Commented Jun 9, 2022 at 16:37

4 Answers 4


The answer depends on your perspective. 2/22/22 is when the current armed incursion into Ukraine began, 2014 is when Russian forces incurred into Ukraine to seize Crimea.

To make matters even muddier: legally speaking, there is no Russo-Ukrainian war; neither party has officially declared war on the other. (Russia declared a "special military operation" following the U.S.' footsteps in Korea, Vietnam, and other conflicts.)

That said, there has been a constant state of violent conflict in Ukraine's Donbas region since the annexation of Crimea and insofar as people shooting each other constitutes an 'undeclared war' then the region has been in that state since at least 2014 if not earlier. This region of the world is no stranger to violence.

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    Re "legally speaking": you are, of course, correct. However, actual declarations of war appear to be mostly a thing of the past - yet that doesn't stop most people using the word "war" to describe modern conflicts. Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 14:28
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    @SteveMelnikoff That only further makes my point: My answer is basically "It depends how you define war, and that will vary by your perspective." The question will likely be closed since "matter of perspective" questions aren't generally favored here, but I think it's important to note that this issue is not a "yes/no" proposition and keep that answer visible for exactly the reasons you raise. Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 14:29
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    @Fizz Ukraine, to my knowledge, has not declared war. Instead they have treated Russian military incursion into as a national emergency requiring armed response. Turkey deciding a state of war does exist is, again, further making my point: whether or not a state of war exists is a matter of perspective because "war" is a poorly defined concept. When you have to use terms like "pretty close to legal state of war" you're perfectly illustrating what I'm talking about. Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 14:36
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    (1) "If not ealier" is RF's propaganda. There was zero hostility between Donbas and the rest of Ukraine. (2) RF's incursion into Donbas under the guise of "separatist movements" was organized by Girkin/Strelkov, a "fomer" FSB/KGB agent (no such thing as a former above-the-law guy). It started before RF's invasion of Crimea. (3) Vietnam War was called a "war". (4) Violating all international conventions doesn't make Russia's war against Ukraine a special operation. It's still a war. There is no muddy waters about it. I upvoted, but I really wish you'd be more careful with language.
    – wrod
    Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 5:15
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    ...and it would be helpful not to use a US-idiosyncratic date format on an international website, especially when applied to a European situation.
    – Zeus
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 2:41

Start of the war:

The war between Russia and Ukraine started on February 27, 2014, when the Russian forces invaded Ukraine in Crimea.


  • The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin regards certain sovereign countries (such as Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia) as part of the historical Russia. Russia invaded as many of these countries as it could, that is, all the non-NATO members.

  • Thriving, democratic, independent countries, former members of the Soviet Union, integrated with the West politically, economically, culturally and militarily may serve as an example to the Russian people, who may want similar changes in the regime in Russia. Putin (who ruled Russia 2000-2008 and 2012-present) showed that he is reluctant to relinquish power in Russia. One way to ensure his reign is to teach by example, that is to punish the democratic neighbors, and create crippled states (occupied in part or completely, as Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia), or states ruled by puppet regimes (such as the regime of Lukashenko in Belarus).


  • The popular uprising occurred in Ukraine in 2013-2014, during which the corrupt, pro-Russian Ukrainian President Yanukovich escaped the country.
  • The subsequent elections brought to power pro-Western political elite, which was not subservient to Russia.


2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2022_Russian_invasion_of_Ukraine

Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annexation_of_Crimea_by_the_Russian_Federation

Why has Russia invaded Ukraine and what does Putin want?: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56720589

  • "may serve as an example to the Russian people, who may want similar changes" What do you exactly mean by that, since you have used similar expresions in other answers?
    – convert
    Commented Jul 27, 2022 at 12:09
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    @convert : Putin is rightfully concerned that Russian people will want democracy, including a change in the ruling party and the ruling President. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, etc showed by example that this is possible. They also showed that it may lead to desired outcomes, such as closer European integration. Commented Jul 27, 2022 at 12:14

Legally, there is no war to speak of:

  • Russia claims that it is currently conducting a special military operation, but it has never formally declared a war on Ukraine.
  • Equally, Ukraine formally characterized the events in Donbass region, developing since 2014, as an antiterrorist operation, even though casually the events have been often referred to as war. In practical terms, Russia denied that any of its forces were present in Donbass, contrary to the claims made by Ukraine.

The reason for that it that a declaration of war is a legal act that is sometimes politically difficult to accomplish (e.g., in the US it must be voted by the Congress) and which entails various legal consequences: e.g.:

  • providing certain financial and military aid to warring parties may be prohibited by international law
  • other countries may be reluctant to provide such an assistance, since it would formally make them parties to the conflict
  • any abuses fall under the well-developed international conventions regarding war crimes, which are less precise on counter-terrorism.

In this context it is worth mentioning that the US has not formally declared a war since World War 2.

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    Bullet point 2 in the 2nd para is rather false.. Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 16:16
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    Legally, the laws of war apply to interstate armed conflict even if one or both belligerents refuse to call it a war.
    – o.m.
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 17:28
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    A war does not require a declaration of war to be a war. It only requires it if the countries are following international conventions. Russian Federation is a rogue state and is not following any international conventions, or treaties it has signed, or even its own laws, in conducting of this war. The fact that RF is operating as a rogue state does not make it anything less than a war.
    – wrod
    Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 5:12
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    @RogerVadim but this isn't law.SE. Political theory is the topic here. Rogue state may not be a legal designation, but it's a well understood concept in political theory.
    – wrod
    Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 14:43
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    @RogerVadim facts are not defined by law. They are descriptions of observable events. If the term "rogue state" has a definition, and the definition fits, then Russia is a rogue state. A declared war is only a narrow subset of what is meant by the term "war." There is no doubt that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a war, even if it's not a declared war. Whether or not the war has been observed, by numerous qualified observers, is the only question in determining whether the war is happening.
    – wrod
    Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 15:21

Crimea vs Kiev conflicts on Crimean's voted-for constituation and Kiev's decision that Crimea's one contrantradict Ukraine's one - 1992-1995

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    Is this intended as an answer to the question "when the did the war start and why". If so, please improve it.
    – James K
    Commented Aug 10, 2023 at 7:44

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