Since independence in 1991 as the Soviet Union collapsed, internal divisions have left Ukraine in a precarious position between East and West with the two countries’ histories shrouded in conflict. It is what both divides and connects them. Now with Russian troops advancing quickly from the borders and into Ukraine, we reflect on its past while urgently looking for solutions for its future. This is the conflict in photos. 

Scenes of residents and nationals dispersing into cars, coaches, trains and queuing outside of banks to withdraw cash have started to emerge from the images of bombs, helicopters and troops heading across borders. As some take shelter in underground stations, others are on the move. As Russia pushes to redraw borders in the latest reports from the media, Putin’s move into the Ukraine has sparked international condemnation. After Moscow reported to have advanced, tensions between the two militaries poised at either side of the borders are rapidly escalating and evacuations have begun.

IMAGO / NurPhoto
IMAGO / NurPhoto | Ukraine Activists burn flares during the Unity March for Ukraine to show unity of Ukrainians amid the tension on the border with Russia and warnings of Russian invasion, in the center of Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Ukraine. February 12, 2022.
IMAGO / UPI Photo
IMAGO / UPI Photo | Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) listens to explanations during a military drill outside the city of Rivne, northern Ukraine on Wednesday on February 16, 2022.
IMAGO / Ukrinform
IMAGO / Ukrinform / ​​Mykola Miakshykov | Lasers and pixel lights mounted on five factory chimneys that are part of the Dnipro Light Flowers installation glow blue and yellow, the colours of the Ukrainian flag, to mark the Day of Unity, Dnipro, central Ukraine. February 16, 2022.
IMAGO / Ukrinform
IMAGO / Ukrinform / Oleksii Kovalov | People carry a long Ukrainian flag in the streets in celebration of the Day of Unity, Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk Region, eastern Ukraine. February 16, 2022.
IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Jim Lo Scalzo | President Joe Biden speaks to the media about Russia's buildup on the Ukrainian border as he departs the White House for Cleveland.
IMAGO / SNA
IMAGO / SNA / Maxim Zakharov / A serviceman of the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) inspects a ruined school in the village of Molodezhniy. February 12, 2022.
IMAGO / Ukrinform
IMAGO / Ukrinform / Dmytro Smolyenko | The shooting drills are underway at the base of the Separate Territorial Defense Battalion of Zaporizhzhia, southeastern Ukraine.
IMAGO / SNA
IMAGO / SNA / Vitaliy Belousov | Police officers detain a participant of an anti-war protest against Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, on Pushkin Square in Moscow, Russia. February 24, 2022.
IMAGO / ANP
IMAGO / ANP / Jeffrey Groeneweg | In The Hague, people demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy for Ukraine. February 24, 2022.
IMAGO / Ritzau Scanpix
IMAGO / Ritzau Scanpix / Liselotte Sabroe | People show their dissatisfaction after Russia's invasion of Ukraine at a demonstration in front of the Russian embassy in Copenhagen on Thursday, February 24, 2022.
IMAGO / PanoramiC
IMAGO / PanoramiC | Solidarity protest for Ukraine in Strasbourg, France.
IMAGO / ITAR-TASS
IMAGO / ITAR-TASS / Peter Kovalev | The police detain a demonstrator during an anti-war protest in central St Petersburg. February 24, 2022.
IMAGO / NurPhoto
IMAGO / NurPhoto / Maciej Luczniewski | American Soldiers on the Ukrainian Border in Arlamow, Poland. February 24, 2022.
IMAGO / UPI Photo
IMAGO / UPI Photo / Oliver Contreras | President Joe Biden delivers a statement on Russia and Ukraine in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Thursday, February 24, 2022.
IMAGO / ITAR-TASS
IMAGO / ITAR-TASS / Anton Vergun | A Russian military vehicle is seen near Oktyabrsky, Belgorod Region, southwest Russia.
IMAGO / NurPhoto
IMAGO / NurPhoto / ​​Beata Zawrzel | People arrive at a bus station after fleeing and crossing a border from Ukraine in Medyka.
IMAGO / NurPhoto
IMAGO / NurPhoto / ​​Beata Zawrzel | Fleeing Ukraine Passengers rest on camp beds in a temporary shelter inside a building of the railway station after arriving on a train from Kiev in Ukraine to Przemysl, Poland on February 25, 2022.
IMAGO / NurPhoto
IMAGO / NurPhoto / John Lamparski | Pro-Ukraine Rally In New York City.
IMAGO / ITAR-TASS
IMAGO / ITAR-TASS / Alexander Ryumin | A view of a classroom of Secondary School No 50 in Sokolovskogo Street damaged in a shelling attack.
IMAGO / ITAR-TASS
IMAGO / ITAR-TASS / Alexander Ryumin | A woman is seen outside Secondary School No 50 in Sokolovskogo Street damaged in a shelling attack.
Words and Image Selection by Columnist Sofia Bergmann. Stay to up to date on the latest news from Ukraine via our Picture Editors here.