Politics Wrenching Scenes from War as Russia Invades Ukraine The first explosions were reportedly heard early on Feb. 24 as Russia began its long-feared invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin's full-scale attack — which he continues to insist is for "peacekeeping," as the international community condemns him — has forced Ukrainian residents to prepare bags with necessities and flee their homes as airstrikes and threats continue By Diane J. Cho Diane J. Cho Diane J. Cho was the Features Editor of PEOPLE Digital from 2019 to 2022. She worked at the brand for nearly four years covering news, features, human interest, evergreen, holiday gift guides and more. She launched the How I Parent and What It's Really Like to Be …. digital series and has interviewed several celebrities and influential leaders within the entertainment industry. Prior to joining PEOPLE, Diane worked at Bustle, VH1 and Complex. She received her bachelor's degree in Journalism from Rutgers University and her master's degree from Columbia Journalism School. People Editorial Guidelines Updated on March 9, 2022 01:54 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos 01 of 71 Smoke shooting up into the air in Ukraine's capital Kyiv. Kyodo via AP Images Russia launched a military attack in earnest on Ukraine on the morning of Feb. 24. Black smoke from an explosion in the capital of Kyiv could be seen shooting up in the sky. "We are facing a war and horror. What could be worse?" one Kyiv resident told the Associated Press. 02 of 71 EyePress News/Shutterstock A Russian Ka-52 helicopter was shot down in Hostomel, a northwestern suburb to the capital city of Kyiv, on Feb. 24. 03 of 71 EyePress News/Shutterstock The shelling of the border of Kyiv was left with major damages, thick smoke and fires on Feb. 24. 04 of 71 Leon Klein/Anadolu Agency/Getty A man surveyed a damaged building after attacks battered the area around Horlivka on Feb. 24. 05 of 71 Leon Klein/Anadolu Agency/Getty An inside view of a damaged factory after attacks in Horlivka on Feb. 24. 06 of 71 Leon Klein/Anadolu Agency/Getty Homes throughout Horlivka were badly damaged following attacks on Feb. 24. 07 of 71 Leon Klein/Anadolu Agency/Getty More buildings and homes destroyed after attacks in Horlivka on Feb. 24. WARNING: The following slide(s) contain graphic imagery that may be disturbing to some 08 of 71 Leon Klein/Anadolu Agency/Getty A body of a person was covered by a blanket in a garden that was hit by attacks in Horlivka on Feb. 24. 09 of 71 VIACHESLAV RATYNSKYI/Anadolu Agency/Getty Air raid sirens rang out in downtown Kyiv on Feb. 24 as cities across Ukraine were hit with Russian missile strikes and artillery. People took shelter in a metro station with their loved ones and pets. 10 of 71 Omar Marques/Getty Ukrainian citizens stayed overnight in a temporary shelter after arriving by train from Kyiv at Przemyśl train station on Feb. 24 in Przemyśl, Poland. 11 of 71 A family removes their belongings from their home in Severodonetsk after the official announcement of the evacuation of the city on Thursday in Lugansk Oblast, Ukraine. Diego Herrera/Europa Press/Getty A family packed their bags and took their belongings from their home in Severodonetsk, after the official announcement of the evacuation of the city, on Feb. 24. 12 of 71 Diego Herrera/Europa Press/Getty A man waited for the arrival of the train in Lisichansk on Feb. 24. 13 of 71 Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/Shutterstock Refugees from Ukraine were seen disembarking from a train in Przemyśl, Poland, on Feb. 24. 14 of 71 Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/Shutterstock More refugees from Ukraine, who arrived to Poland, left the train station in Przemyśl on Feb. 24. 15 of 71 EyePress News/Shutterstock An image released by the Ukraine Ministry of Defense on Feb. 24 allegedly showed a column of Russian 15 T-72 tanks being neutralized by the Javelin anti-aircraft missiles in the Glukhov area of Ukraine hours after Russia's invasion. 16 of 71 DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Ukrainian servicemen stood their ground in northern Kyiv on Feb. 24. 17 of 71 Pierre Crom/Getty In Kyiv, a large crowd of people waited for buses at a station as they attempted to evacuate the city on Feb. 24. 18 of 71 Pierre Crom/Getty People gathered in groups as they boarded a bus to evacuate Kyiv on Feb. 24. 19 of 71 Pierre Crom/Getty More people waited for buses at a bus station in Kyiv on Feb. 24. 20 of 71 STATE EMERGENCY SERVICE OF UKRAINE HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Emergency services worked at a crash site of an Armed Forces of Ukraine military plane in the Obukhiv district, near Kyiv, on Feb. 24. According to Ukraine's State Emergency Service, the aircraft had 14 people on board when it crashed. Five people died in the incident, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine said in a statement. 21 of 71 Pierre Crom/Getty Heavy traffic jammed the streets of Kyiv as people attempted to flee the city following pre-offensive missile strikes from Russian armed forces on Feb. 24. 22 of 71 Oleksandr Khomenko/UPI/Shutterstock Ukrainians took refuge in the Kyiv train station as they kept an eye on bus and train schedules on Feb. 25. 23 of 71 Emilio Morenatti/AP/Shutterstock Ukrainian soldiers took position under a bridge during crossfire inside the city of Kyiv on Feb. 25. 24 of 71 Ukrainian soldiers take positions under a bridge during crossing fire inside the city of Kyiv, Ukraine. Emilio Morenatti/AP/Shutterstock More Ukrainian soldiers took positions on the ground as they laid under a bridge during crossfire in Kyiv on Feb. 25. 25 of 71 Emilio Morenatti/AP/Shutterstock A Ukrainian soldier sat on the ground as another stood alert nearby in Kyiv on Feb. 25. 26 of 71 Emilio Morenatti/AP/Shutterstock Ukrainian soldiers took positions in downtown Kyiv as Russia continued its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 25. 27 of 71 SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images A rocket body crashed into a road after a shelling on the northern outskirts of Kharkiv on Feb. 24. 28 of 71 Sergei Grits/AP/Shutterstock A totaled car and damaged equipment laid bare at a military facility outside Mariupol, Ukraine, on Feb. 24. 29 of 71 Mariupol, Ukraine, on Thursday. Evgeniy Maloletka/AP/Shutterstock A Ukrainian military track burned at an air base following an apparent Russian strike in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Feb. 24. 30 of 71 Courtesy toska husted Several people warmed themselves at a fire at the Medyka border crossing in Poland on Feb. 28. Ukraine has so far confirmed the death of more than 3,000 people and some 150,000 people have already crossed the border into Poland. Most of them are women and children. 31 of 71 Courtesy toska husted This view showed damage to the upper floors of a building in Kyiv on Feb. 26, after it was reportedly struck by a Russian rocket. 32 of 71 A woman stands in front of a destroyed building after a Russian missile attack in the town of Vasylkiv, near Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday. Courtesy toska husted A woman stood in front of a destroyed building after a Russian missile attack in Vasylkiv, a town near Kyiv, on Feb. 27. 33 of 71 Courtesy toska husted Smoke filled the sky over Vasylkiv on Feb. 27, after an overnight Russian strike hit an oil depot. 34 of 71 Courtesy toska husted Ukrainian Military Forces patroled the small town of Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk Oblast on Feb. 27. 35 of 71 Courtesy toska husted Ukrainian policemen stopped cars on the streets of Kyiv to talk to people as they looked for anything suspicious on Feb. 27. 36 of 71 Courtesy toska husted This aerial photo showed miles of cars stuck in traffic as families fled toward the Medyka-Shehyni border crossing between Ukraine and Poland on Feb. 28. 37 of 71 Courtesy toska husted Women looked after babies at a pediatrics center that was moved to the basement of a hospital being used as a bomb shelter in Kyiv on Feb. 28. 38 of 71 Courtesy toska husted A makeshift barricade blocked the road in Kyiv on Feb. 28. 39 of 71 Courtesy toska husted A serviceman was seen alongside a damaged building in Donetsk, Ukraine, as attacks continued on Feb. 28. 40 of 71 Courtesy toska husted Also seen in Donetsk: a number of destroyed cars and vans populated an abandoned lot. 41 of 71 SERGEI CHUZAVKOV/AFP via Getty A woman said goodbye as a train filled with evacuees pulled away from the station in Kyiv on March 2. 42 of 71 DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Donated sleeping bags and bedding were packed by volunteers at a distribution center in Lviv, Ukraine on March 2. 43 of 71 Erin Trieb/Bloomberg via Getty A Ukrainian soldier stood guard next to sand berms at Independence Square in Kyiv, on March 2, as Russia pressed forward with an invasion on the city. 44 of 71 A destroyed building following Russian missile strikes in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 2. Erin Trieb/Bloomberg via Getty More buildings were destroyed following Russian missile strikes in Kyiv on March 2. 45 of 71 People taking shelter during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Chris McGrath/Getty In Kyiv, people and pets took shelter in the Dorohozhychi subway station, which was turned into a bomb shelter. 46 of 71 Chris McGrath/Getty On March 2, a Ukrainian serviceman guarded the entrance to an underpass in Independence Square as Russian forces continued their advance on the Ukrainian capital for the seventh day. 47 of 71 Russian invasion of Ukraine. SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Kharkiv's city hall and the surrounding areas were destroyed after Russian troop shelling on March 1. 48 of 71 SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty More destruction was seen at the local city hall of Kharkiv on March 1. 49 of 71 ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty A man stood at a road block in downtown Kyiv on March 1 50 of 71 ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Civilians carried pets and children across a river on a blown-up bridge on Kyiv's northern front on March 1. 51 of 71 GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty A person stood in a huge crater in front of a military facility that was destroyed by shelling in the city of Brovary outside Kyiv on March 1. 52 of 71 SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Firefighters worked to contain a fire in a housing complex that was allegedly hit during recent shelling by Russia in Kharkiv on March 2. 53 of 71 Russian invasion of Ukraine. DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Ukrainian soldiers carried gallons of water near a military base in Lviv on March 2. 54 of 71 Ukraine Invasion. EMMANUEL DUPARCQ/AFP via Getty A Ukrainian man stood in the rubble after Russia had bombed the area the day before in Zhytomyr on March 2. 55 of 71 ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Ukrainian soldiers gathered around as a woman cooked for them at a frontline northeast of Kyiv on March 3. 56 of 71 ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty A soldier held an anti-tank launcher northeast of Kyiv on March 3. 57 of 71 DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Volunteers soldered I-beams to make an anti-tank obstacle, known as a Czech hedgehog, in Lviv on March 3. 58 of 71 The Russian invasion of Ukraine. ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Yevghen Zbormyrsky, 49, got emotional in front of his burning home after it was hit in Irpin, a city just outside Kyiv, on March 4. 59 of 71 People remove personal belongings from a burning house after being shelled in the city of Irpin, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 4. ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty People grabbed their belongings from a burning house after being shelled in Irpin on March 4. 60 of 71 Ihor Mazhayev, 54, photographed by his destroyed house on March 5 in Markhalivka, Ukraine. Anastasia Vlasova/Getty Images Ihor Mazhayev, 54, stood on the spot where his home was before it got destroyed by shelling on March 5 in Markhalivka, Ukraine. 61 of 71 Russians Continue Assault On Outskirts Of Kyiv. Andrea Filigheddu/NurPhoto via Getty Images Refugees continue to flee in Irpin, some by crossing a bombed bridge, on March 4. 62 of 71 Refugees fleeing Ukraine board a train to Budapest at the Zahony train station on March 7 in Zahony, Hungary. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Refugees boarded a train to Budapest at Zahony train station in Hungary on March 7. 63 of 71 Chris McGrath/Getty Images A man carried his dog as he and others fled Irpin on a destroyed bridge on March 7. 64 of 71 The Russian invasion of Ukraine. Chris McGrath/Getty Images Firefighters try to put out a fire after a chemical warehouse was hit by Russian shelling near Kalynivka village in Kyiv on March 8. 65 of 71 Ukraine. Ukrinform/Shutterstock Shelves remain empty at a supermarket in Kyiv on March 8. 66 of 71 Jan Husar/SOPA Images/Shutterstock Thousands flee Irpin as destroyed homes and abandoned cars are left behind after a Russian military attack on the town on March 8. 67 of 71 Andrew Marienko/AP/Shutterstock Apartment buildings are barely standing and playgrounds are empty as Russia continues its attacks on March 8 in Kharkiv, Ukraine. 68 of 71 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Andrew Marienko/AP/Shutterstock Parts of destroyed buildings pile up after devastating shelling in Kharkiv on March 8. 69 of 71 MARCUS YAM/LOS ANGELES TIMES/Shutterstock Firefighters fought to put out flames that torched a storage facility that was hit on the edge of Kalynivka on March 8. 70 of 71 Ukraine. Pavlo Palamarchuk/SOPA Images/Shutterstock Refugees take shelter and try to get rest at one of the schools in Lviv on March 7. 71 of 71 MYKOLA TYS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Ukrainian servicemen and families paid their respects, during a funeral for three Ukrainian soldiers killed in the fight against Russian forces, in Lviv on March 9.