Monday, February 28, 2022

Ukraine: Map of Russian Control on Feb. 27, 2022

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Map of Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine at the end of the fourth day of the Russian invasion (February 27, 2022). In addition to the Crimean peninsula, which Russia had already seized in 2014, and parts of the far eastern Donetsk and Luhansk provinces (the Donbass region) already controlled by Russia-backed separatist rebels (and declared independent as the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics), Russian forces have moved into large areas of the countryside north of Ukrainian capital city Kyiv (Kiev), along a long swath of the northeastern border adjacent to Kharkiv city, and in a robust chunk of territory just north of Crimea, while also expanding control a small amount in Donetsk and a larger amount in Luhansk. Map includes key locations from the news, such as Melitopol, Chernobyl, Hostomel Airport, Konotop, Kupiansk, Tokmak, Vasylkiv, Ivankiv, and the Kakhovka Reservoir. Colorblind accessible.
Map by Evan Centanni and Djordje Djukic. Contact us for permission to use this map.

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Timeline by Djordje Djukic, with additional reporting by Evan Centanni

Russian Invasion Map: Ukraine at War

Months of US warnings that Russia was planning to invade Ukraine were proven right last Thursday, as Russian troops, tanks, ships, and aircraft flooded into the neighboring country. Russia had already taken over Ukraine's southern province of Crimea in 2014, and pro-Russia separatists claimed to have split off from eastern Ukraine after seizing much of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. But Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine is a massive new escalation, unprecedented in Europe since World War II.

The above map shows control lines as of Sunday night - just before the first round of ceasefire talks - when Russian forces had captured significant chunks of rural Ukraine, but so far not gained control of any major cities (the situation a day later remains mostly unchanged). The map is based on reporting from various news media on the status of cities and towns, with lines of control in the countryside estimated with the help of other conflict-tracking websites and social media accounts.

Flag of Ukraine Full Country Name:  
• Ukraine (English)
• Ukrayina (Ukrainian)
Capital: Kyiv

Timeline of Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

The following is a chronology of changes to territorial control and other major events since our last map report on rebel control in Donetsk and Luhansk on September 29, 2020, with a focus on the events leading up to and during the full-scale Russian invasion of February 2022.

Terminology notes: On our map and timeline we have generally spelled place names within Ukraine based on the Ukrainian-language versions, since Ukrainian is the country's official language. Many places also have an alternate name based on the Russian language, which is also spoken in Ukraine. We have made exceptions for some places with well-established English names, such as Odessa and the Dnieper River.

In the case of the Luhansk/Lugansk, PolGeoNow uses the Ukrainian spelling ("Luhansk") for the province of Ukraine, and the Russian spelling ("Lugansk") for the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic, whose official language is Russian. For Ukraine's capital city, historically known in English by its Russian name, Kiev, we have used the Ukrainian version, Kyiv in order to conform to both our own convention and the emerging consensus among news media.

Ukraine's administrative subdivisions are called "provinces" in our timeline, but it's also common to hear them referred to as "regions", or by the Ukrainian-language term, "oblasts". Province names have not been labelled on the above map, because every province mentioned in the timeline shares a name with a major city that already appears there.

Map of Russia-backed separatist rebel control in the Donbass region, claimed as Donetsk and Luhanks provinces by Ukraine, but called the Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic by the rebels. Map is up-to-date as of February 23, 2022, the day before the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine began. Colorblind accessible.
Separatist control in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk provinces (the "Donbass" region) prior to Russia's full-scale invasion. Control lines didn't change significantly from 2020 to 2022. Click to enlarge.
March 16, 2021
Shelling along the frontline between the Ukrainian military and the Russia-backed separatists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), at a location north of Donetsk city in the Donbass (Donetsk and Luhansk) region, left four Ukrainian soldiers dead. This brought the overall number of Ukrainian soldiers killed since the start of the year to either 16 or 21, according to differing reports, and to 45 since the last established ceasefire on July 27, 2020.

April 6, 2021
Two more Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the Donbass region.

April 9-10, 2021
For the first time, Ukraine flew one of its Turkish-made drones over the Donbass region. The Ukrainian government had received the drones from Turkey in June 2019. The next day, it requested a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) - whose responsibilities include monitoring the ceasefire agreements in the Donbass - regarding “unusual Russian military activity“.

April 19, 2021
A Russian military build-up of more than 100,000 troops was reported along the Ukraine-Russia border.

April 22, 2021
Russia announced a troop drawdown on the Ukraine-Russia border following military drills.

May 5, 2021
It was reported that 80,000 Russian troops remained near the border with Ukraine.

October 26, 2021
One of Ukraine’s Turkish-made drones conducted an airstrike against a separatist 122mm howitzer that was shelling a bridge under construction at a frontline village west of Telmanovo, in southern Donetsk (see smaller close-up map of separatist control). The bridge was reportedly being built by the Ukrainian military for civilian traffic. Subsequently, the situation returned to normal and the construction of the bridge was abandoned.

November 2-3, 2021
Two more soldiers were killed in the east of the country, bringing the Ukrainian military’s death toll since the July 2020 ceasefire to 96.

November 3, 2021
According to Ukraine, 90,000 Russian troops remained on its border following large-scale military exercises.

November 10, 2021
The United States (US) said it was worried that Russia was possibly planning to invade Ukraine.

November 21, 2021
The US shared intelligence alleging Russia planned to invade Ukraine.

November 22, 2021

The Ukrainian military was reported to have fired American-made anti-tank missiles during fighting in the Donbass region.

November 30, 2021
Foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military alliance including the US and the majority of European countries, warned Russia against any effort to destabilize Ukraine, while Russia said it was NATO that was causing trouble by deploying “significant units and military equipment” close to Russia’s borders, and that Western countries were pushing Ukraine “into anti-Russian actions”. Neither Russia nor Ukraine is a member of NATO.

December 1, 2021
Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded guarantees that NATO would not expand further into Eastern Europe, one day after he warned the military alliance not to deploy its troops and weapons to Ukraine, saying it was a red line for Russia which would trigger a strong response.

Ukraine’s neighbor countries of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania had already been NATO members for many years by this time. The Ukrainian government was seeking to join NATO too, but was not expected to be allowed in anytime soon. NATO membership includes a military pact requiring all members to go to war to defend any member that’s attacked by another country.

December 1-3, 2021
According to Russia, 125,000 Ukrainian troops had been deployed to the Donbass region. Two days later, Ukraine stated that 94,000 Russian troops had amassed along its border with Russia.

December 7, 2021
US President Joe Biden warned that Western countries (North America and Western Europe) would impose economic sanctions on Russia if it invaded Ukraine, and said it would provide military aid to the Ukrainian government.

December 10, 2021
Russia demanded that NATO withdraw its 2008 invitation for Ukraine to eventually join the military alliance, but NATO's leadership refused.

December 17, 2021
Russia demanded that Ukraine and other ex-Soviet states be barred from joining NATO, and that NATO countries pull back their troops and weapons in Central and Eastern Europe. It also called for a ban on US and Russian warships and aircraft being sent to areas within reach of each other’s territory, as well as a halt to NATO military exercises near Russia’s borders. (The US is by far the most militarily powerful NATO member country, and led NATO against Russia’s predecessor country, the Soviet Union, during the Cold War.)

December 21, 2021
Russia stated that it would consider a military response if it felt threatened by NATO.

December 23, 2021
During an annual news conference, President Putin requested that the West “immediately” meet Russia's demand for security guarantees by halting NATO's expansion to Ukraine. He also welcomed as a “positive” move the negotiations with the US that were due to start in Geneva, Switzerland the following month. Putin stated that the West had “swindled, blatantly cheated” Russia by offering verbal pledges in the 1990s not to expand NATO to the east, and then enlarged to incorporate countries formerly in Central and Eastern Europe, which were formerly allied with the Soviet Union as part of the Warsaw Pact, as well as the Baltic countries, which had been part of the Soviet Union itself before splitting off in 1991.

Western scholars and historians generally dispute that NATO made any formal pledges. In 1990, US Secretary of State James Baker had told Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that “NATO will not move one inch further east.” At the time, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl also told Gorbachev that “naturally NATO could not expand its territory to the current territory of” Soviet-backed East Germany. Then-US President George H.W. Bush reportedly thought both Baker and Kohl had gone too far, but NATO’s then-secretary general also pledged that NATO would not extend past the territory of East Germany.

After that, Russia and the Western countries reached an agreement that would allow NATO to station its troops in reunified Germany only, while further eastward expansion was considered inconceivable at the time. Western researchers point out that the pledges made at the time were not formal, only verbal, and that it was a time when the Soviet Union still existed and its fall couldn’t yet be predicted. Years later, Gorbachev explained that the Baker remark was being taken out of context and that the topic of the discussion was that NATO’s military structures and forces would not be deployed on the territory of the former East Germany after Germany’s reunification. However, Gorbachev did state that what unfolded after 1990, with more countries joining NATO, was “a violation of the spirit of the statements and assurances made to us in 1990”.

Further, declassified documents from 2017 showed that multiple national leaders in 1990 and 1991 at first rejected Central and Eastern European membership in NATO, and that discussion of NATO during the German unification negotiations were not narrowly limited to the status of East Germany.

December 31, 2021
It was reported that 79 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed during 2021, including three in December. In comparison, 70 DPR fighters and seven civilians living in DPR-held territories were reported to have killed during the year.

January 3, 2022
US President Biden reassured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the United States and its allies would “respond decisively” if Russia invaded Ukraine. The implication was that the US would respond with strong economic punishments or other sanctions, having already ruled out sending troops to directly combat any Russian invasion. Many fear that a direct war between the US and Russia could lead to a world war involving nuclear weapons - both countries see themselves as military superpowers and maintain large arsenals of nuclear missiles.

January 7, 2022
The US and NATO again rejected Russia’s demand to promise a halt to NATO’s expansion.

January 19, 2022
President Biden stated that he expected Russia to invade Ukraine.

January 26-28, 2022
The US and NATO yet again rejected Russia’s demand to end NATO’s expansion, but said they offered a “serious diplomatic path” forward, while President Biden warned Ukraine that there was a “distinct possibility” Russia might invade the country in February. Two days later, Russia stated that its security concerns were being ignored. It was revealed that the United States and NATO had offered Russia disarmament measures, including allowing it to confirm the absence of missiles in NATO member countries Romania and Bulgaria.

January 31, 2022
At the United Nations (UN) Security Council, Russia accused the West of “whipping up tensions” regarding Ukraine and said the United States had brought “pure Nazis” to power in the country's government. Neo-Nazi ideologies are known to have gained followers in Ukraine in recent years, with many such followers thought to have infiltrated the country’s military and police. However, the idea that those elements are in control of the country is not considered credible by many outside observers - Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy is even Jewish, with family members who were killed by the original Nazis in the Holocaust.

February 2, 2022
It was announced that the United States would send 2,000 troops to Europe, stationing them in Germany and Poland, while 1,000 troops would move from Germany to Romania. The US already had about 60,000 soldiers stationed in Europe at this time, including in Poland and Germany.

February 3, 2022
The US shared new intelligence that it said showed Russia was planning a pretext to invade Ukraine.

February 6-12, 2022
Thousands of Russian troops were deployed to Belarus - just north of Ukraine - for military exercises (Belarus is a close ally of Russia). The United States estimated that 30,000 would be present for the drills. The joint drills with the Belarusian military started on February 10. At the same time, the Russian military was preparing for naval drills in the Black Sea, while Ukraine accused Russia of a naval blockade. The large-scale naval drills started on February 12.

February 7, 2022
It was announced that the United Kingdom (UK) would send 350 troops to Poland, while Germany would send 350 troops to Lithuania, one of the Baltic NATO member countries bordering northern Russia.

February 11, 2022
It was announced that the US would send an additional 3,000 troops to Poland, while President Biden stated that Russia might invade Ukraine on February 16.

February 15, 2022
The Russian parliament voted to ask President Vladimir Putin to officially recognize the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) as independent countries. Both would-be countries been declared independent from Ukraine in 2014, after Russia-backed rebels captured much of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, but so far no UN member country, even their ally Russia, had officially recognized them as independent.

Meanwhile, the LPR reported that one of its Russian volunteer soldiers was killed by a Ukrainian sniper at the frontline in Donbass. Separately, Russia stated that it was conducting a partial withdrawal of its troops from Ukraine’s border.

February 15-17, 2022
President Biden said that 150,000 Russian troops had amassed along Ukraine’s border. It was reported two days later that another 7,000 arrived.

February 16, 2022
The UK announced that it would double its number of its troops in Estonia, another of the Baltic NATO member countries.

February 18, 2022
The DPR and the LPR announced a “mass evacuation” of civilians into Russia, accusing the Ukrainian government of planning a new attack on their territories. Many residents of the two regions had been given Russian citizenship and passports since 2019. Meanwhile, it was reported that the number of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border had reached 190,000.

February 20, 2022
As the joint military exercises between Russia and Belarus were supposed to end, it was announced that Russian troops would remain in Belarus and the drills would be extended due to the deteriorating relations with Ukraine. Furthermore, it was said the 30,000 Russian troops would remain in Belarus indefinitely.

February 20-23, 2022
Shelling along the frontline between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian separatists left six Ukrainian soldiers dead. Overall, nine Ukrainian soldiers had been killed at the frontline since the start of the year.

February 21-22, 2022
President Putin signed a presidential decree officially recognizing the DPR and LPR as countries independent of Ukraine. Agreements were also reached giving Russia permission to build military bases in the DPR and LPR - a major change from the previous status of the territories, which were still considered part of Ukraine by most of the rest of the world. Syria, as well as Yemen’s internationally-unrecognized Houthi government, said they supported Russia in its decision to recognize the independence of the DPR and LPR, with Belarus, the Central African Republic, Nicaragua, and Venezuela joining in. As of the date of this report, none of these countries other than Russia was confirmed to have formally extended its own recognition. The following day, the US, UK, and European Union (EU) imposed sanctions on Russian banks, lawmakers, and other prominent individuals.

February 22, 2022
It was announced that the US would send 800 more troops to the Baltic countries.

February 23, 2022
The government of Canada, also a NATO member, announced that it would send 460 more troops to eastern Europe. Meanwhile, the DPR and LPR, based on their new status as independent countries according to Russia, asked the Russian government for military aid.

February 24, 2022
President Putin declared the start of a Russian military operation in Ukraine, with its purported aim being the “demilitarization and de-nazification of Ukraine”.

Russian troops entered Ukraine from the north, east, and south. In the north, Russian ground forces advanced five kilometers (three miles) into Ukraine in Kharkiv and Chernihiv provinces, as well as at the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Following a helicopter assault, Russian forces also took control of a major international cargo airport in the Kyiv suburb of Hostomel (25 kilometers, or 15 miles, from the capital). They also captured Sumy, a provincial capital in the north.

In the east, Russian troops seized two villages in Luhansk province as they reportedly advanced between six and eight kilometers (four and five miles) beyond the DPR and LPR's previous limits of control. The Russian military also entered the Luhansk region from Russia through three directions, capturing several villages.

And in the south, Russian forces advanced northwards from the already Russian-controlled Crimea peninsula (which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014), capturing two towns, a bridge, and a hydroelectric plant near Kherson. They also reached Kherson's provincial capital, thus bringing several parts of the province under their control, including the North Crimean Canal, which connects the Crimea peninsula to the Dnieper River. In addition, Russian forces captured Snake Island in the Black Sea, off the coast of Ukraine. Russia was said to be primarily targeting military infrastructure and silos.

In the evening, heavy urban fighting erupted in Sumy, while counter-attacking Ukrainian forces recaptured the Hostomel Airport.

The first day of fighting left 137 Ukrainians dead, including at least 25 civilians. Of those killed, 18 died in a missile attack on a military base in Odessa, while six were killed in a strike on a town near Kyiv targeting a special forces base. Five soldiers also died when their military transport plane was shot down near Kyiv, while a Russian attack helicopter was downed during the takeover of the airport. Russia also confirmed the loss of a Su-25 attack jet due to “pilot error” and a military transport plane with its whole crew in Russia’s Voronezh region due to a technical malfunction. Further, Russia reported that two civilian vessels were hit by Ukrainian missiles in the Sea of Azov, causing several casualties. Overall, according to Russia, 83 military targets were hit on the first day of its operation.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US, UK, and EU imposed economic sanctions on Russia.

February 25, 2022
In the early hours of February 25, Russian forces in Ukraine’s Sumy province surrounded the city of Konotop and continued to advance west towards Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv. In the south, they took control of Melitopol city without resistance. Meanwhile, Russian “sabotage groups” were reported to have entered Kyiv and engaged Ukrainian troops in several parts of the city. During the morning, the Russian military advanced on Kyiv from the north along both sides of the Dnieper River, with heavy fighting taking place at the town of Ivankiv, around 60 km (35 miles) northwest of the capital, and soon afterwards Russian troops were reported to have entered Kyiv's northern Obolon neighborhood.

The Russian military was also confirmed to have taken control of Hostomel Airport again, after an air assault that was said to have involved some 200 helicopters. To the northeast of Kyiv, Chernikiv was reportedly surrounded, and Semenivka was under Russian control. In the south, Ukrainian forces temporarily recaptured a bridge at Kherson that they had lost the previous day, before the Russian military breached Kherson's defenses and once again seized the bridge. A Russian amphibious assault was also said to have taken place west of Mariupol.

In the early evening, a Ukrainian missile attack hit a Russian air base near Millerovo, 16 km (9 mi) from the Ukrainian-Russian border, reportedly destroying two Su-27 fighter jets. Later, it was reported that Russian troops had been forced out of the southern city of Melitopol, but that it was surrounded and heavy fighting was taking place. Ukraine said that it controlled only half of the city, while Russia reported that its own forces were in control there. Meanwhile, Russian forces captured Konotop in the north.

The Ukrainian death toll was reported to have risen to 194, including 57 civilians, while the UK claimed that 450 Russian soldiers had been killed. During the day’s fighting, a Ukrainian Su-27 fighter jet was shot down over Kyiv. Russia reported that it had disabled 211 military facilities since the start of its military operations.

In the evening, the EU, UK, and Canada imposed individual sanctions on President Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, locking them out from any bank accounts or investments they had in those countries. Later, a UN Security Council vote blocked a resolution that would have deplored Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and requested that Russia stop its attack and withdraw its forces. Eleven Security Council members voted for the resolution, but Russia vetoed it, while China, India, and the United Arab Emirates abstained from voting. As permanent members of the Security Council, the US, UK, France, Russia, and China each have veto power, while the other member countries, whose membership rotates, have equal votes but no veto. Following the vote, the United States also sanctioned President Putin and Minister Lavrov.

February 26, 2022
In the early hours, heavy fighting erupted in the western part of the capital near the Kyiv Zoo and in the city’s Shuliavka neighborhood, as well as at a power station in the northeastern Troieschyna district. Later, Ukraine claimed that a Russian attack on a military base on Kyiv’s Peremohy Avenue was repelled. Heavy clashes also took place in the town of Vasylkiv, around 30 km (20 mi) southwest of Kyiv, as Russian airborne troops conducted an assault behind enemy lines. According to Ukrainian and US officials, two Russian military transport planes were shot down south of Kyiv, including one at Vasylkiv.

By morning, the attack on Vasylkiv had been repelled, while Ukrainian forces regained control of Kyiv. Afterwards, the US and UK estimated that the majority of the advancing Russian forces were 30 km (20 mi) from Kyiv, while according to the US the units that entered the capital had been “reconnaissance elements”. Conflict-tracker Suriyak claimed that the fighting inside the capital had been infighting between Ukrainian security forces and dissident groups, as well as clashes between recently armed civilians, rather than a Russian military assault. The previous day, the Ukrainian government said it had handed out 18,000 machine guns to civilians in Kyiv.

Meanwhile, Russia-allied DPR forces captured two villages east of Mariupol and advanced six kilometers (four miles), seizing seven villages north of Mariupol, while LPR forces advanced 30 km (20 mi) northwest of Luhansk over the Donets river, seizing two villages. In addition, the LPR was confirmed to have taken control of a town northeast of Luhansk city.

Farther south, fighting continued in the northeast of Melitopol, while Russian forces advanced north of the city towards Zaporizhzhia. Several hours later, Russian troops completed their control of Melitopol and continued to advance along three axes northwest, northeast, and east of Melitopol. To the northeast, Russian troops arrived in Tokmak. Farther east, Russian forces were advancing towards Mariupol and deployed at the airport in Berdyansk, while continuing to advance in a northeasterly direction. Fighting was also taking place for control of the remaining Ukrainian-held towns south of the Kakhovka Reservoir.

In the evening, Russian forces reportedly attacked the shipbuilding port city of Mykolaiv, with Russian tanks were moving through the city. The following day, reports would assert that the city was still under Ukrainian government control.

Ukraine reported that 198 civilians had been killed and 1,115 injured since the start of the invasion. Ukrainian authorities later stated that 19 civilians were killed during the day in Russian shelling in Donetsk province. Meanwhile, the DPR reported 11 civilians killed by Ukrainian military fire in the previous ten days within the territory it controlled. The LPR also said 8 civilians had been killed in its own territory over the last eight days, all due to fire by Ukrainian troops, including two in the past 24 hours.

February 27, 2022
Russian forces pushed into Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, with fighting erupting in the streets. Later in the day, they were pushed out of the city and back to its outskirts. Still, they were able to advance further east of Kharkiv, through the countryside, in an attempt to link up with the LPR forces. The LPR itself was reported to have advanced 52 km (32 mi) northwest of Luhansk and captured four towns, including one just south of Starobilsk. Later, forces of the DPR were also reported to have advanced another six kilometers (four miles), capturing three villages, while the LPR advanced another four kilometers (2.5 miles).

Back in the north, Russian troops reached the town of Nizhyn, on the way from Konotop to Kyiv, and were attempting to enter it. Another Russian military column was advancing down the Sumy-Kyiv road, even while Russian forces were pushing back into Sumy town itself. Later, Russian vehicles were attacked at two locations along the Sumi-Kyiv road, including near Pryluky, resulting in heavy losses. Russian forces were also probing alternative routes to Kyiv, advancing southwest of Hostomel Airport, while they also made advances in the Chernihiv area.

Meanwhile, in the south, Russian forces said they had “blocked“ Kherson and Berdyansk. They then reportedly took control of part of Kherson, including its airport, where a Ukrainian drone strike reportedly struck Russian vehicles. Russian surface-to-air missile systems were also seen in Berdyansk. Later, it was reported that Russian forces had seized the southern shore of the Kakhovka Reservoir, as well as Tokmak and Berdyansk. A US official also reported that 2,000 Russian Marines had conducted an amphibious landing from the Sea of Azov and were advancing on Mariupol.

Later in the evening, fighting continued between Ukrainian government and DPR forces 15 km (9 mi) north of Mariupol, with the Ukrainian military regaining one of the towns it had lost to the DPR the previous day. At the same time, the Russian military was engaging Ukrainian forces 45 km (28 mi) west of Mariupol.

In the evening, it was confirmed that the town of Kupiansk, in the Kharkiv region, had surrendered to Russian forces.

Ukraine reported that 352 civilians had been killed and 1,684 injured since the start of the invasion, while the DPR reported that 15 civilians had been killed in its territories during the previous ten days due to Ukrainian military fire. Russia reported it had hit 1,067 military facilities since the start of its military operations.

Stay tuned to PolGeoNow for more updates to this map and timeline as events progress!

We changed the map's Russian control colors from blue to green the day after publication, to avoid confusion with water or any implication that we intended to express support for Ukraine by mimicking the colors of its national flag (PolGeoNow remains strictly neutral in this conflict as in all others).

Graphic of the Ukrainian flag is in the public domain (source).