What went right? Positive moments of a year of a full-scale invasion

What went right? Positive moments of a year of a full-scale invasion

On February 24, 2022, the Russian military launched a full-scale invasion. The full-scale war is now on its 364th day. This is a year that began in February. This time has changed Ukrainians — we have become stronger. Despite the loss and trials, we continue to hold on. As Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted: "This is the year when Ukraine changed the world, and the world discovered Ukraine."

"It can still be dark, loud, and complicated for us. But we will definitely never be afraid again. It was our year. Year of Ukraine. Year of Ukrainians," said Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his New Year's address to Ukrainians.

Let's recall the positive moments during the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Army

The Ukrainian military has been defending Ukraine since 2014, but on February 24, 2022, they faced a full-scale Russian offensive in three directions: northern, eastern, and southern. In particular, the battle for Kyiv began on the first day of the full-scale war. Already on April 1, 2022, the Armed Forces of Ukraine repelled the Russian offensive in the Kyiv region, and the next day the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine announced the liberation of the entire region.

September, when the Ukrainian military launched a counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region, also became decisive. In just four days, they pushed out the Russians from almost the entire Kharkiv region. And on November 11, Kherson was liberated.

In addition, in 2022, Ukraine returned 1,350 defenders from Russian captivity, some of whom had been there even before February 24.

Ukraine is the country of the year 2022

The Economist weekly named Ukraine the country of the year 2022. The editors stated that the life of Ukrainians is an "inspiring example."

In addition, the European Parliament named the Ukrainian people as the laureates of the Sakharov Prize For Freedom of Thought, which is awarded every year to defenders of human rights and fundamental freedoms. According to the decision, the award goes to "the brave people of Ukraine represented by their president, elected leaders, and civil society."

"This award is for those Ukrainians fighting on the ground. For those who have been forced to flee. For those who have lost relatives and friends. For all those who stand up and fight for what they believe in," said President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola.

The President of Ukraine became the person of the year according to the Polish weekly "Wprost," the Austrian magazine "Profil," the British newspaper "Financial Times," and the American weekly "TIME."

TIME noted that this year, the choice was simpler than ever — "Volodymyr Zelenskyy galvanized the world in a way we haven't seen in decades."

EU Candidacy

One of Ukraine's greatest diplomatic achievements during the year of full-scale invasion was the decision on June 23 by the leaders of the 27 EU member states to grant Ukraine candidate status.

This opened opportunities to receive financial assistance in the transformation of society, the legal system, and the economy on the path to EU membership, and will also keep the country's European integration reforms a priority.

The Ukrainian question on the world stage

During the year of the full-scale war, Ukraine was heard in the governments of most countries of the Western world. Volodymyr and Olena Zelenskyy spoke before world leaders, students, and communities to ensure that the Ukrainian issue would be heard in every country.

In 2022, for the first time since regaining independence in 1991, Ukraine expanded its relations with the countries of the African continent. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, since February 2022, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has had 18 conversations with the leaders of African countries, nine of them were the first in the history of bilateral relations. This applies to Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Côte d'Ivoire, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, and Botswana.

In addition, in October 2022, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, began the first diplomatic tour of Africa in the history of Ukraine.

On July 20, Olena Zelenska delivered a speech in the US Congress, calling for more weapons for Ukraine, and on December 21, Zelenskyy spoke in the US Congress and met with US President Joe Biden.

On February 8, Zelenskyy addressed the British Parliament and met with King Charles III and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. On February 9, the President took part in a special meeting of the European Parliament and delivered a speech.

Civil society

In 2022, Ukraine won the Nobel Peace Prize for the first time since 1991. It was awarded to the Center for Civil Liberties human rights organization.

In the third month of the full-scale war, Ukrainian journalists received the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of events during the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"Despite the bombardment, abductions, occupation and even deaths in their ranks, they have persisted in their effort to provide an accurate picture of a terrible reality, doing honor to Ukraine and journalists around the world," the award jury noted.

The Ukrainian organization Media Initiative for Human Rights received the Human Rights Tulip Award from the government of the Netherlands for outstanding achievements in the fight for human rights, which is awarded annually to human rights defenders by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

Record number of visits

In 2022, a record number of official delegations from around the world visited Ukraine, with some high-ranking officials coming to Ukraine several times.

In particular, on March 16, the prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia visited Ukraine. This was the first visit by foreign political representatives to Ukraine.

In addition, Angelina Jolie walked the streets of Lviv, Bond film director Cary Fukunaga visited the Kharkiv region, actor Ben Stiller visited Irpin and Makariv, actress Jessica Chastain visited the Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital.

The most frequent guest, director Sean Penn, who is currently filming a movie about Ukraine, handed over his Oscar statuette to Zelenskyy as a symbol of faith in victory.

The Bono band gave a concert in the capital's underground, as the Khreshchatyk and Maidan Nezalezhnosti stations became a shelter stage for events for 9 months.


Since the start of the full-scale war, Ukrainians and foreigners have donated over ₴33.96 billion — this is the total amount from UNITED24, Come Back Alive, and the Prytula Fund.

The UNITED24 fundraising platform has raised ₴8.6 billion in eight months of its work. Since February 24, the Come Back Alive fund has raised ₴5.6 billion. The largest amount of ₴1.6 billion was donated in March. Since then, on average, the fund has raised about ₴350 million per month.

Since the start of the full-scale invasion, the Serhiy Prytula Foundation has raised almost ₴4 billion, and in October, the number of donations more than tripled in a month, reaching ₴658 million.

Ukrainian scientists

Ukrainian scholar Maryna Viazovska received the most prestigious mathematical award — the 2022 Fields medal. The Ukrainian was awarded for solving problems on packing of identical spheres in multidimensional spaces and further contribution to related extremal problems and interpolation problems in Fourier analysis.

Until now, Ukrainians have never received the Fields Prize.

Literature, music, cinema

In May 2022, the Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision Song Contest 2022. It was a performance that broke the records of the audience vote.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the performance of "Shchedryk" ("Carol of the Bells"), a concert was held in New York at Carnegie Hall. The New York choir "Dumka," the children's choir "Shchedryk," the Ukrainian bandurist choir and the American choir "Trinity Wall Street" performed.

In one year, Ukrainian writer Serhii Zhadan collected a record number of professional awards: the Jerzy Giedroyc Literary Award, the Freedom Prize from the Frank Schirrmacher Foundation, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development literary prize for the novel "The Orphanage," the German Booksellers' Peace Prize, etc.

Ukrainian writer Andrii Kurkov also received the Medici Literary Prize for his book "Grey Bees." The author was awarded for "telling the drama of Ukraine through a tale in which tenderness finds its way between cruelty and tragedy."

As for cinema, the Danish-Ukrainian-Swedish documentary "A House Made of Splinters" was nominated for the Oscar 2023 in the Best Documentary Feature Film category.

Director Iryna Tsilyk became the first Ukrainian on the jury of the L’Œil d’or award of the 75th Cannes Film Festival. Ukrainian director Antonio Lukich's film "Luxembourg, Luxembourg" was selected for the Orizzonti competition program of the 79th Venice Film Festival.


On October 10, 2022, Russian forces launched the first massive missile attack on Ukraine's energy infrastructure, as well as the largest attack since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. After that, the National Power Company "Ukrenergo" resorted to scheduled power outages throughout the territory of Ukraine.

Thus, on November 18, 2022, Lviv was left without electricity due to massive shelling, but this did not prevent doctors from working. Surgeons at the Center for Pediatric Cardiology performed a successful heart surgery without electricity.

The year's achievement is unity

Throughout 2022, the unity of the Ukrainian people wasn't broken even for a minute.

"This unity is our key strength that helps us achieve any results," Volodymyr Zelenskyy constantly emphasizes.

The Constitution of Ukraine states that the people are the bearers of sovereignty and the only source of power in Ukraine. The Ukrainian people confirmed this constitutional postulate by uniting in the defense of the country.

"There are no small matters in a great war. There are no unnecessary ones. Each of us is a fighter. Each of us is a front. Each of us is the basis of the defense," says the President of Ukraine.