February 24: Ukraine marks one year of war

February 24 was a solemn occasion for Ukrainians, who spent the day reflecting on the thousands of civilians killed and millions more displaced since Russia launched its devastating invasion of their country a year earlier. As the conflict enters its second year, the economic repercussions for the world continue to mount. Here's how we covered the day.

Friday, Feb 24 11:00 (JST)

One year since Russia's invasion of Ukraine

One year ago today, on February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin shocked the world by ordering his forces to cross the border into Ukraine in a full-scale invasion. Experts called the resulting conflict "the biggest security crisis in Europe" since World War Two.

Putin attempted to justify the attack using a variety of reasons. He said Moscow was trying to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine from Kyiv's "neo-Nazi regime." He also claimed Russia was simply taking back "native land." In the months that followed, Russia annexed four Ukrainian regions following referendums widely derided as sham polls.

This month Russian troops have intensified their attacks in parts of Ukraine. By and large, Ukrainian forces have met those attacks with dogged resistance.

Today we'll be bringing you the latest developments on the conflict with video, photos and analysis from the front and elsewhere.

Friday, Feb 24 11:08 (JST)

Map: Which parts of Ukraine are under control by Russian troops

This map is based on daily assessments published by the Institute for the Study of War with the American Enterprise Institute's Critical Threats Project.

Friday, Feb 24 11:15 (JST)

Read: Ukraine's ambassador to Japan discusses devastation, path to peace

Ukraine's ambassador to Japan witnessed the devastation and suffering of his people during a trip home in December, but remains confident their resilience will help them to prevail against Russia's aggression. Read more here.

Friday, Feb 24 11:23 (JST)

Watch: 3D solution for Ukraine war amputees

As the war drags on, many people — soldiers and civilians alike — have been left with life-changing injuries. One Japanese man is trying to help by using the latest technology to provide amputees with prosthetic legs.

Friday, Feb 24 11:25 (JST)

Zelenskyy: Ukrainian forces holding strong

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his forces are fighting hard with the help of weapons contributed by western countries. “In the east, it's very difficult and painful. But we are doing everything to withstand it," he said in a video address on Thursday.

Friday, Feb 24 11:30 (JST)

UN: More than 8,000 civilians killed in Ukraine

The United Nations reports at least 8,006 civilians have died and 13,287 have been injured in Ukraine since the start of Russian invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said in a statement that the figures are "only the tip of the iceberg."

"The toll on civilians is unbearable. Amid electricity and water shortages during the cold winter months, nearly 18 million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Some 14 million people have been displaced from their homes," he said.

Friday, Feb 24 11:45 (JST)

Eight out of 10 Ukrainians suffering from health problems, survey finds

Eighty percent of people who took part in a survey conducted in Ukraine by NHK and Rating Group said they have mental and physical scars from the conflict.

Thirty five percent of the 1,000 adults who responded said they have mental and physical problems that are making their day-to-day lives difficult. Eight percent said their suffering is so serious that they've seen a doctor or a counselor. Another 35 percent said they have physical and mental problems that aren't affecting them on a daily basis.

Friday, Feb 24 11:50 (JST)

"This is a war not only to protect our country, but to protect democracy"

Olha Zhuravel fled Kyiv with her three children last March and brought them to Japan. The psychologist and psychotherapist provides counseling for a number of other Ukrainian evacuees. "This is a war not only to protect our country, but to protect democracy," she says. "I'm thankful for the support, but we need more military and humanitarian support for the lives of soldiers and civilians in Ukraine."

Friday, Feb 24 12:00 (JST)

Read: Ukrainian manga artist reframes life in time of war

A young Ukrainian manga artist chronicling life during the conflict has won a legion of fans across the globe and attracted the interest of a publisher in Japan. Read more here.

Friday, Feb 24 12:10 (JST)

Possibility of Putin using nuclear weapons is not so high, military analyst says

Military analyst Koizumi Yu says the possibility of Russian President Vladimir Putin using nuclear weapons in Ukraine is "not that high" because no one knows how far the situation would escalate from there.

He argues that the possibility of a nuclear attack has been significantly restricting NATO members' military assistance to Kyiv.

Koizumi says he is sure that Moscow has the same understanding as the West that a nuclear war in the country could lead to a bigger fight and the end of humanity entirely. He says the conflict shows that nuclear weapons are most effective before they are used.

Friday, Feb 24 12:15 (JST)

"I don't want people to forget about the war"

For most of the past year, 16-year-old Ivan Tkachov has been living in a hotel near Tokyo with members of his family. His father had to stay behind in Kyiv. "I feel that people are starting to think of the war as a normal state of affairs," he says. "I don't want people to forget about the war. I want them to help in any way they can, like donating. If you can donate 1 dollar, that might eventually help our soldiers get medicine, or help someone get a power generator."

Friday, Feb 24 12:25 (JST)

Ukraine unveils new banknote

Ukraine's central bank has released a commemorative banknote to mark the one-year-anniversary of Russia's invasion.

One side depicts three soldiers raising the Ukrainian flag. The other features an image of two hands tied with tape — an apparent allusion to alleged Russian war crimes.

Friday, Feb 24 12:34 (JST)

Watch: Dreams of young Ukrainians

In the lead-up to the one-year mark of the war, we asked children in Ukraine to tell us about their ambitions.

Friday, Feb 24 12:43 (JST)

Tokyo church holds interfaith service

Around the world, places of worship are holding commemorative services to mark the anniversary of Russia's invasion and pray for an end to the war. NHK World's Yamaguchi Hiroaki is at St. Alban's Anglican-Episcopal Church in Tokyo, where a special interfaith service is taking place. The church also hosts a Ukrainian Orthodox Christian congregation called the St. Jude Mission, which is leading today's prayers for peace.

Friday, Feb 24 12:45 (JST)

Watch: Class is on, war or not

Russia's invasion has failed to dampen the zeal of college students at the Kyiv-Mohyla Business School, who assembled for classes in an underground shelter even as air raid sirens rang out across the capital.

Friday, Feb 24 13:00 (JST)

Read: Japan's atomic bomb survivors say horror of history must not be repeated

Atomic bomb survivor Setsuko Thurlow says, "I hear about Ukrainians' predicament every day. I can relate to their suffering because I experienced the atomic bombing decades ago." Read more here.

Friday, Feb 24 13:01 (JST)

China foreign ministry: Ukraine crisis must not be allowed to spiral out of control

China says dialogue and negotiation are the only ways to stop the Russia-Ukraine crisis from spiraling out of control.

In a position paper released Friday, the foreign ministry called for a comprehensive ceasefire and de-escalation in tensions.

"Conflict and war benefit no one," the statement said. "All parties must stay rational and exercise restraint, avoid fanning the flames and aggravating tensions, and prevent the crisis from deteriorating further or even spiraling out of control."

The statement added that "nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear war cannot be fought."

Friday, Feb 24 13:10 (JST)

Watch: Ukrainian and US ambassadors to Japan call on Russia to withdraw

Ukraine's ambassador to Japan, Sergiy Korsunksy, has held a news conference with his counterpart from the US, Rahm Emanuel. The pair demanded that Russia withdraw its forces from Ukraine immediately.

Friday, Feb 24 13:18 (JST)

Watch: Ukrainian city faces long road to recovery

Irpin, a city on the doorstep of Kyiv, suffered extensive destruction at the hands of Russian forces in the early days of the invasion. Residents now face a drawn-out struggle to rebuild from the ashes.

Friday, Feb 24 13:55 (JST)

Many faiths, one prayer for peace

St. Alban's Anglican-Episcopal Church in Tokyo has held an interfaith prayer service to mark the anniversary of the invasion.

The church's Anglican rector, Reverend Michael D. Moyer, delivered a sermon. The congregation also heard prayers from Shinichi "Jiai" Saito, a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist monk, and Rabbi Andrew Scheer of the Jewish Community of Japan.

Father Paul Koroluk, with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, led the service. He said, "all of us who are committed to good, we're all on the same side. And just because someone looks different, or prays different, or has a different language, it doesn't mean they're the enemy. They're our friends."

Friday, Feb 24 14:00 (JST)

Sirens become part of everyday life

Air raid sirens go off almost daily in Kyiv.

These sounds are from outside in the capital and from the special app the Ukrainian government asks all residents and visitors to install.

Friday, Feb 24 14:20 (JST)

Ukraine awakens on one-year anniversary of invasion

People in Kyiv are waking up to a gloomy morning on the first anniversary of Russia's invasion. It's -2 degrees Celsius and overcast in the Ukrainian capital. At 7 a.m., the bells at the famous St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery rang seven times to mark the start of the day.

Friday, Feb 24 14:50 (JST)

Atomic bomb survivors protest Russian invasion

Hundreds of hibakusha, or atomic bomb survivors, are protesting Russia's invasion of Ukraine and calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Hibakusha and other activists are taking part in a rally at the Peace Memorial Park in Nagasaki. They are holding up placards that read, "Peace for Ukraine" and "Stop the invasion immediately."

Tanaka Shigemitsu, head of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors' Council, says the conflict in Ukraine reminds him of Japan during World War Two. "Russia should withdraw its troops from Ukraine as soon as possible and end the war," he says.

Friday, Feb 24 15:00 (JST)

Tune into NHK World-Japan's special coverage

NHK World-Japan is now broadcasting a special live edition of its Asia 24 program, with all the latest developments on the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, including live reporting from Ukraine and studio analysis.

Friday, Feb 24 15:50 (JST)

Cultures and creeds come together at Tokyo church

NHK World's Yamaguchi Hiroaki was at an Anglican-Episcopal church in Tokyo today for a special prayer ceremony that brought together dozens of people from different countries and faiths. The church also rents its space to the St. Jude Ukrainian Orthodox Mission, and as such is an important gathering place for some of the more than 2,000 Ukrainian evacuees in Japan.

"There was a traditional Ukrainian prayer, calling for peace and an end to the war," Yamaguchi says. "But it's important to note this was an interfaith ceremony. There was an Anglican Christian sermon. There were also Jewish and Buddhist prayers offered. There were Japanese and Ukrainian people here, and also people from other European countries and the US. This was really a chance for people of many different backgrounds to come together in support of Ukrainians."

Father Paul Koroluk has been conducting Ukrainian Orthodox services in Japan for over a decade. He hailed the diverse gathering as an important symbolic gesture: "Praying together is necessary, and especially on a day like today, we made a point. We don't want to just pray only as Ukrainian Orthodox people, but to pray with different kinds of people so that we understand that all of us who are committed to good — we are on the same page."

Friday, Feb 24 16:10 (JST)

Japan to review principles on transfer of defense equipment

Japan's defense minister has foreshadowed the possibility of changes to the country's principles on the transfer of defense equipment abroad, in order to support countries such as Ukraine, which are victims of aggression.

Hamada Yasukazu says his ministry will study possible revisions to Japan's three principles on the transfer of defense equipment and technology, as well as their associated guidelines. He says that Japan has already provided bulletproof vests, helmets and other non-lethal aid to Ukraine, and will continue to extend as much aid as possible.

Friday, Feb 24 16:15 (JST)

First Lady of Ukraine: Justice for Ukraine is justice for entire world

In a video message to the United Nations, Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska spoke of human rights violations in Bucha, Izyum, Irpin, Kyiv and other parts of her country. "Ukraine's victory will mean the victory of human rights over lawlessness, torture and destruction," she said.

Friday, Feb 24 16:21 (JST)

Mood on streets of Kyiv somber

NHK World's Koyama Shoko says people in the Ukrainian capital are trying to remain upbeat, but that at Independence Square, which is home to a memorial for fallen soldiers and journalists, "the atmosphere is solemn."

"I've been here for about a week. I see people walking around. Things feel normal at times. But then we'll hear air raid sirens go off. That's happened almost every day. And when I speak to anyone, they all tell me they've been affected by the war in some way. Some have lost loved ones and friends in the fighting. So there is a lot for people to process today."

Humanitarian aid from around the world started coming quite early in the war — and it continues. More than 160 thousand people in Ukraine received housing support from the UNHCR last year. But Koyama notes there are many more who are still in need of help. "The United Nations says more than 17 million people are in urgent need of protection and humanitarian assistance in this crisis."

Friday, Feb 24 17:21 (JST)

Indian Prime Minister urges G20 to tackle unsustainable debt

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called on the Group of 20 nations to do more for the world's most vulnerable citizens.

"Food and energy security have become major concerns across the world. Even the financial viability of many countries is threatened by unsustainable debt levels," Modi said in a video message at the beginning of a two-day meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors on the outskirts of India's tech hub, Bengaluru.

"We are also witnessing rising geo-political tensions in different parts of the world. There are disruptions in global supply chains. Many societies are suffering due to rising prices."

Friday, Feb 24 17:38 (JST)

Hundreds turn out for anti-war protest in Australia

Members of Australia's Ukrainian community and their supporters have marched through central Sydney in protest against Russia's invasion. The crowd, wielding flags and anti-war signs, stopped outside St. Mary's Cathedral for a vigil.

A small group of protesters also gathered outside the Russian Embassy in Canberra.

Friday, Feb 24 17:55 (JST)

Zelenskyy: We will defeat all threats

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed that Ukrainians "will defeat all threats" in a defiant video message delivered to mark the first anniversary of Russia's invasion.

"A year ago on this day, from this same place around seven in the morning, I addressed you with a brief statement, lasting only 67 seconds," he said in a 15-minute speech.

Zelenskyy said the year that followed had turned out to be one of resilience, courage, pain and unity.

"The main conclusion is that we have survived. We have not been defeated. And we will do everything to win this year."

Friday, Feb 24 18:12 (JST)

Green shoots herald imminent arrival of spring in Kyiv

It's still bitingly cold in the Ukrainian capital, but the temperature has climbed above freezing, and the sun has drawn people out to parks. One resident told our NHK crew that spring wouldn't come until March, but the appearance of green shoots across the city suggests it could arrive sooner than expected.

Friday, Feb 24 18:16 (JST)

Ukrainians rally in Thailand

Ukrainians living in Thailand gathered outside their embassy in Bangkok with flags and signs protesting the Russian invasion.

About fifty people — many wearing national colors — sang the Ukrainian anthem as an embassy official raised the flag. The blue and yellow colors of the national flag stood out as the group marched to a nearby city park.

Friday, Feb 24 18:30 (JST)

Kyoto City sends message of support to sister city Kyiv

The mayor of Kyoto City has sent a message of support to his counterpart in sister city Kyiv.

In an email to Vitali Klitschko, Kadokawa Daisaku wrote that Kyoto residents are praying people in Kyiv will be able to live in peace and safety soon.

An organization set up by Kyoto City in collaboration with private sector groups has so far taken in 78 Ukrainian evacuees.

The city has also received nearly one million dollars in private donations that it is using to support the evacuees and restore damaged buildings in Kyiv.

Friday, Feb 24 18:44 (JST)

Russia's Wagner claims control of Ukrainian village near Bakhmut

The founder of Russia's Wagner mercenary group claims it has taken control of a village on the outskirts of Bakhmut, a key Ukrainian stronghold in the eastern region of Donetsk.

"Units of the Wagner Private Military Company are in full control of Berkhivka," he wrote in a social media post.

Friday, Feb 24 19:30 (JST)

NATO chief: Putin failed, Ukraine stands

In a speech in the Estonian capital of Tallinn, NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg declared that "President Putin failed, Ukraine stands, NATO and the EU stand with Ukraine.

"One year ago, President Putin launched his full-fledged invasion of Ukraine, an illegal war of aggression in blatant breach of basic international rules. He wanted to break the will of the Ukrainian people and he wanted to break our unity," Stoltenberg said. "Putin has not given up his goals. He wants a different Europe, where Russia can dictate what neighbors do."

Friday, Feb 24 19:42 (JST)

Japanese PM to call for new sanctions against Russia

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio says he'll propose new sanctions against Russia at an online meeting of G7 leaders later on Friday local time, while also calling on supporters of Moscow to halt their military assistance.

Kishida said the G7 will set an example to the international community by leading the effort to restore a world of peace, where the rule of law forbids countries from using acts of aggression to alter the status quo.

The prime minister said that although Japan is restricted from providing military support to other countries, it will continue to offer Ukraine humanitarian aid, support for efforts to rebuild devastated communities, and equipment to help address power shortages, as well as landmine detectors and clearance machines.

Friday, Feb 24 19:53 (JST)

China says unaware of drone talks between Russia and Chinese company

China's foreign ministry says it is not aware of talks that reportedly took place between Russia and a Chinese company for the purchase of 100 drones, to be delivered in April. The claims initially appeared in articles in German media.

"There has been a large volume, too much disinformation spread about China on this point. We should be vigilant about the intentions behind this," ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a news briefing.

"I also want to emphasize that China on the export of military products has always held a cautious and responsible attitude, not selling military products to conflict areas or warring parties."

Friday, Feb 24 20:00 (JST)

Check out NHK World-Japan's special coverage

NHK World-Japan has started broadcasting a special live edition of its News Room Tokyo program. We're bringing you all the latest on the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Friday, Feb 24 20:30 (JST)

US prepares billion Ukraine aid package

The US Department of Defense says it will provide Ukraine with a new security assistance package worth 2 billion dollars.

It says the package includes more precision-guided munitions for HIMARS launchers, as well as attack drones and equipment to intercept or detect drones.

Friday, Feb 24 20:45 (JST)

UK holds minute's silence for Ukraine

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak led a minute's silence for Ukraine outside Downing Street. The event was held as a mark of respect and support for the country after a year of full-scale war.

Friday, Feb 24 20:56 (JST)

Peace vigil in Osaka

A crowd of anti-war protestors has observed a minute of silence at a park in Osaka.

The participants arranged hundreds of candle-shaped LED lights to spell the word "peace," laid carnations, and offered prayers for the victims of the war.

Friday, Feb 24 21:00 (JST)

Read: The Russian mother and daughter helping Ukrainian evacuees in Japan

Of the thousands of Ukrainians who have taken sanctuary from the invasion in Japan, some have found the move more jarring and stressful than others. For these evacuees, help is coming from an unlikely quarter: A restaurant just outside Tokyo run by Russian mother-and-daughter pair Anastasia and Dayana Stetsyuk. Read more here.

Friday, Feb 24 21:15 (JST)

People lay flowers for fallen soldiers at memorial wall

Many turned out today to lay flowers at a memorial wall for fallen soldiers.

Friday, Feb 24 22:03 (JST)

Watch: Going to school during the war in Ukraine

The Russian invasion has prompted changes at schools across Ukraine. Bomb shelters are moonlighting as classrooms, and teachers are offering their students an additional kind of support.

Friday, Feb 24 22:40 (JST)

Zelenskyy's news conference on 1st anniversary of invasion

Media crews from around the world arrived early for a much-anticipated news conference by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to mark the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Friday, Feb 24 23:00 (JST)

Vigils for peace continue in Kyiv

Vigils continue in remembrance of those killed in Russia's invasion of Ukraine as supporters renew calls for peace in that war-ravaged nation.

Friday, Feb 25 01:00 (JST)

Watch: Kyiv's heart and soul

Kyiv's Independence Square has traditionally been regarded by Ukrainians as a peaceful place of recreation, but nowadays a sea of flags representing fallen soldiers and a line of barricades against Russian forces cast the area in a different light.

Friday, Feb 25 02:00 (JST)

Watch: A taste of home on Ukraine's front lines

In Ukraine, a team of volunteers packages up ingredients to make instant servings of borscht, the traditional soup beloved of people across the country, and sends them to soldiers on the front lines of the conflict with Russia.

Friday, Feb 25 03:00 (JST)

Watch: Candles light the way for power-deprived Kyiv residents

At a market in Kyiv, a vendor who usually sells honey has added candles to her stock to help locals during power outages.

Friday, Feb 25 06:40 (JST)

Zelenskyy confident of victory

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy answered dozens of questions on Friday in Kyiv at a news conference that lasted more than two hours. He said victory is inevitable and that he wants to see it by the end of the year.

"We have everything for it. We have the motivation, the confidence, the friends, diplomacy, and you. We have united all forces."

He repeated his claim that he is not willing to hold peace talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Instead, he said he plans to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Officials in Beijing have expressed their willingness to help resolve the conflict. Zelenskyy welcomed their interest, and he is open to considering parts of their ceasefire plan.