Timeline of US-Russia Relations (1983-2023)

Below is an evolving timeline of key events shaping the U.S.-Russia relationship along with hyperlinks to resources with more detailed information. This chronology has been compiled by Mari Dugas and RM staff Nini Arshakuni, Angelina Flood, Simon Saradzhyan, Aleksandra Srdanovic and Natasha Yefimova-Trilling. First published February 2018; last updated Dec. 31, 2022.

March 1983U.S. President Ronald Reagan calls the Soviet Union the “Evil Empire” in a public address and announces the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), also known as “Star Wars.”
September 1983Downing of Korean Airlines Flight 007.
November 1983U.S. and NATO hold Able Archer command post exercise amid Soviets’ increasing concerns that a surprise nuclear strike by U.S./NATO could be in the works.
March 1985

Soviet Politburo elects Mikhail Gorbachev as Communist Party General Secretary.

Gorbachev launches campaign of glasnost and perestroika, and reaches out to the West.

November 1985

1st Reagan-Gorbachev summit, in Geneva.

  • SDI is discussed, but no agreement is reached.
April 1986Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurs in Ukrainian SSR.
October 1986

2nd Reagan-Gorbachev summit, in Reykjavík.

  • The two almost agree to eliminate all nuclear weapons, but negotiations eventually stall over SDI.
June 1987Reagan delivers his “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this [Berlin] wall” speech.
December 1987

3rd Reagan-Gorbachev summit, in Washington, D.C.

  • Reagan and Gorbachev sign the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
  • Time magazine names Gorbachev man of the decade.
1988Nagorno-Karabakh conflict erupts between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
May 1988

4th and final Reagan-Gorbachev summit, in Moscow.

  • Gorbachev hopes to use the summit as an opportunity to agree to the START Treaty, but Reagan is not interested in further arms control agreements.
May 1988- February 1989Soviet combat forces withdraw from Afghanistan.
November 1988Estonia becomes first Soviet republic to declare sovereignty.
December 1988In a speech at the United Nations, Gorbachev announces that the USSR will begin to withdraw Soviet forces from Eastern Europe.
April 1989Anti-government demonstrations in Soviet Georgia are dispersed by Soviet Army, leaving 20 dead.
May-November 1989

Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe:

  • More Soviet republics declare sovereignty.
  • In May, Hungary begins dismantling its 150-mile border fence with Austria.
  • Poland's electorate votes the Communists out of government in June, and Gorbachev subsequently announces that the Soviet Union will not interfere with the internal affairs of the Eastern European countries.
  • Latvia declares sovereignty in July, followed by Azerbaijan in September.
  • By October, Hungary and Czechoslovakia follow Poland's example and, on Nov. 9, the East German government opens the Berlin Wall.
  • In November, Soviet Georgia declares sovereignty.
December 19891st summit between President George H.W. Bush and Gorbachev in Malta “officially” ends Cold War.
February 1990Discussions on the reunification of Germany: In Ottawa, the four major World War II Allies (the United States, United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union), as well as the two Germanys, agree on a framework for negotiating the unification of Germany.
March 1990Gorbachev elected president of the USSR.
June 19902nd Bush-Gorbachev summit in Washington, reunification of Germany discussed, but no agreements signed; the following day ethnic violence breaks out in the Soviet Kyrgyz republic (then Kirghizia, now Kyrgyzstan), leaving hundreds dead.
July 19903rd Bush-Gorbachev summit in Moscow, START I is signed.
September-October 1990German reunification: U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze join the foreign ministers of France, Britain and the two Germanys to sign the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany. Reunification is completed by October.
December 1990Gorbachev wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
January 1991Crackdowns on independence movements in Latvia and Lithuania, which turn deadly.
February 1991Warsaw Pact is disbanded.
August 1991Putsch against Gorbachev; soon after the coup is rebuffed, four of the 15 Soviet republics—Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Georgia—officially leave the USSR.
September 1991Bush announces initiatives on unilateral reductions of non-strategic nuclear weapons.
October 1991Gorbachev announces that the Soviet Union will not only reciprocate Bush’s initiatives on non-strategic nuclear weapons, but also proposes that the USSR and the United States eliminate entire categories of such weapons.
December 1991Nunn-Lugar bill on cooperative nuclear threat reduction is signed by Bush into law, after being passed by the Senate in November.
December 1991Dissolution of the Soviet Union: On Dec. 8, the leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine declare that the Soviet Union has ceased to exist and proclaim a Commonwealth of Independent States. Eleven former Soviet republics join the CIS on Dec. 21. The resignation of Gorbachev on Dec. 25 formally ends the Soviet Union.
January-February 1992

Russian President Boris Yeltsin visits the U.S., meets Bush.

  • U.S. promises to promote future Russian admission to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, a major economic goal for Russia.
  • A joint proclamation is issued, stating that the U.S. and Russia don’t see each other as potential adversaries and are beginning a new era of “friendship and partnership.”
February-March 1992The U.S. establishes diplomatic relations with Moldova on Feb. 18 and with Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on Feb. 19. On March 24, it extends diplomatic recognition to Georgia.
April 1992Belarus announces the completion of the withdrawal to Russia of all tactical nuclear warheads deployed on Belarusian territory.
May 1992By May, all tactical nuclear weapons are moved from Ukraine to Russia.
May 1992On May 23, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine sign the Lisbon Protocol to the START I Treaty, becoming parties to the treaty as legal successors to the Soviet Union, with Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine committing to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as non-nuclear states. Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan all commit to eliminate all strategic nuclear delivery vehicles from their territories. 
June 1992

Bush-Yeltsin summit in Washington:

  • Bush and Yeltsin agree to continue START process; set goal of reducing nuclear forces by 3,000-3,500 warheads by 2003.
  • The U.S. agrees to cut submarine-based nuclear weapons by half.
  • Yeltsin is initially very reluctant to negotiate this reduction, seeing it as benefitting the U.S. arsenal over Russia’s; a more attractive aid package is negotiated in order to sway Russia.
  • Bush had previously proposed that Moscow give up its land-based, multiple-warhead ballistic missiles. The Kremlin counters with a proposal for the two sides to reduce their arsenals to 2,500 warheads each, and to give up their land-based and sea-launched multiple-warhead missiles.
  • The U.S. pledges $4.5 billion in economic assistance to Russia.
  • The U.S. launches its Peace Corps volunteer program in Russia.
  • Both states declare bilateral support for U.N. operations in Bosnia.
June 1992Bush and Yeltsin sign the umbrella Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) agreement.
July 1992Yeltsin attends G7 meeting in Munich and meets privately with Bush. The G7 promises another $1 billion in aid to Russia but links it to economic reform. Yeltsin announces that Russia will soon begin to withdraw troops from the Baltics.
October 1992Bush signs the Freedom Support Act, providing $4 billion in aid to Russia and eliminating some of the U.S. restrictions on trade that existed during the Cold War.
January 1993

Bush-Yeltsin summit in Moscow:

  • START II is signed.
  • In the first phase of START II, states have to reduce nuclear weapons to 3,800-4,250 warheads.
  • By the end of phase 2, neither is to have more than 3,000-3,500 warheads (to be completed by 2003).
April 1993

Yeltsin-Clinton summit in Vancouver:

  • First meeting between Yeltsin and U.S. President Bill Clinton; leaders declare a “new democratic partnership.”
  • The U.S. pledges $1.6 billion in additional aid to Russia in light of its economic stagnation (pre-approved by Congress).
  • The two leaders discuss START I and II; Ukraine is delaying the ratification of START I, and until it does so, Russia will not ratify START II.
October 1993

NATO summit proposes Partnership for Peace. 

  • U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher assures Yeltsin that the Partnership for Peace was about including Russia, not creating a new membership list of just some European countries for NATO; Yeltsin responds, “This is genius!”
January 1994

Yeltsin-Clinton summit in Moscow:

  • Clinton and Yeltsin agree that their countries’ strategic nuclear missiles will no longer target each other.
  • The U.S. will purchase $12 billion of low-enriched uranium from Russia over 20 years, after Russia converts it from highly enriched uranium.
  • Russia will participate in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.
  • Clinton and Yeltsin also agree that the sovereignty of former Soviet states should be respected, as well as rights of Russian speakers in the Baltics, though Yeltsin opposes any early accession of Central European countries to NATO.
  • Leaders of Ukraine, Russia and the U.S. agree that Ukraine will give up all nuclear weapons and sign the NPT; in exchange, the U.S. and Russia will negotiate security guarantees with Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

NATO summit launches Partnership for Peace.

February 1994First joint U.S.-Russian Space Shuttle mission launches on Feb. 3 with Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev on board the U.S. space shuttle Discovery.
March 1994Russian troops leave Germany.
May 1994Moscow Declaration implemented: The U.S. and Russia officially no longer aim nuclear weapons at each other.
September 1994

Yeltsin-Clinton summit in Washington:

  • The Partnership for Economic Progress is created, opening new paths for bilateral trade and economic development.
  • No resolution is reached on Bosnian conflict or Iranian cooperation; Moscow states it will keep its existing contracts with Iran.
November 1994Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Richard Holbrooke initiates a NATO study of the “how and why” of new members as part of efforts to speed up NATO expansion discussions.
December 1994

Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances is signed by Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Russia, United States and the United Kingdom:

  • Involves assurances by the U.S., U.K. and Russia to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. These assurances are a key factor in persuading Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.
April 1995Kazakhstan returns all nuclear warheads to Russia.
May 1995

Clinton visits Russia for WWII Victory Day:

  • Clinton and Yeltsin agree that START II should be ratified early.
  • Clinton urges Yeltsin to stop the war in Chechnya and comply with the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty; by November 1995, the CFE treaty would require large withdrawal of weaponry from Chechnya.
  • Yeltsin proposes that Moscow build nuclear reactors in Iran; Clinton objects.
January 1996The U.S. Senate ratifies the START II Treaty on Jan. 26.
April 1996

Yeltsin-Clinton summit in Moscow:

  • Both leaders agree to seek Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) by September 1996 to fulfill Non-Proliferation Treaty obligation.
  • Modifications to the CFE Treaty are discussed, given Russia’s concerns over its provisions in regards to Chechnya.
  • Yeltsin objects again to NATO enlargement plans; Clinton promises there will be “no surprises.”
June 1996The last nuclear warheads are transferred from Ukraine to Russia on June 1.
October 1996Clinton calls for NATO’s enlargement into Warsaw Pact countries.
May 1997

NATO-Russia Founding Act:

  • Yeltsin and Clinton sign NATO-Russia cooperation pact, stating that the two sides no longer consider themselves adversaries.
  • NATO asserts that it will continue to expand.
  • NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council created to facilitate transparency and cooperation.
  • All parties agree to work toward a solution for the Bosnian conflict.
March 1997

Yeltsin-Clinton summit in Helsinki:

  • Clinton and Yeltsin agree to start negotiations on a new arms reduction treaty that will span the next decade, but formal talks can happen only after Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, ratifies START II.
  • Clinton supports Russia’s accession to the G7, making it the G8.
  • Yeltsin notes that NATO expansion is inevitable, and Russia will just have to mitigate any negative consequences that stem from expansion.
June 1997Russia admitted to G8.
September 1998

Yeltsin-Clinton summit in Moscow:

  • Each country will remove 50 metric tons of plutonium from their nuclear weapons programs; Clinton urges Duma to approve START II so the next round of START can begin.
  • Both leaders agree to implement the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons.
  • Yeltsin says Russia is against the use of force in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
  • Yeltsin states that Russia is not dependent on Western economic aid, but does welcome increased Western investment and continued aid from the U.S.
  • Despite disagreement over NATO enlargement, Russia will participate in upcoming NATO summit and says it has no plans to expand westward.
November 1998Launch of International Space Station (ISS): The joint international project to establish a manned space station begins with launch of Russian-built control module on Nov. 20.

March-June 1999


Bombing of then-Yugoslavia over its actions in Kosovo and expansion of NATO leads to seriously strained relationship between U.S. and Russia by the end of the Clinton administration.
 March 1999In fourth wave of NATO expansion since the alliance’s inception, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are admitted. (First wave was Greece and Turkey; second was West Germany; third was Spain.)
August 1999Vladimir Putin is appointed prime minister of Russia.
December 1999Yeltsin resigns; Putin becomes acting president.
March 2000Putin is elected president of Russia.
June 2000

Clinton-Putin summit in Moscow:

  • In the first meeting between Clinton and Putin (in his role as president), Clinton disagrees with Putin’s harsh Chechnya policy.
  • Both agree to establish a data exchange to share early warning missile threat information, which would be the first case of joint U.S.-Russian major military cooperation, and to continue the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium.
  • Clinton addresses State Duma and sits for an interview with Ekho Moskvy, a liberal radio station.
  • Clinton again tries to propose a missile defense shield, but Putin rejects this.
July 2000Clinton and Putin meet in Okinawa ahead of G8 summit and discuss a range of political and security issues. These include the recent Middle East peace initiative, the Iranian nuclear program, Chechnya, Slobodan Milosevic's regime in Belgrade and Clinton’s call for rule of law in Russia.
November 2000First crew on manned ISS: A Russian Soyuz rocket delivers the first permanent resident crew to the ISS on Nov. 2. One American astronaut, Bill Shepherd, and two Russian cosmonauts, Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko, remain in space until March 21, 2001.
July 2001

President George W. Bush and Putin meet at G8 summit:

  • Both agree to hold new talks on the reduction of nuclear weapons, in particular, to discuss the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.
  • Putin and Bush announce a Russian-American business dialogue.
  • Putin expresses concern that the U.S. has not been consistent in its support of Russia’s WTO bid.
September 2001Putin becomes first foreign leader to call Bush after 9/11 attacks.
January 2002Mutual U.S.-Russian Legal Assistance Treaty signed. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Russian Ambassador Yuri Ushakov state that the U.S. and Russia will jointly fight crime and terrorism.
January 2002The term "axis of evil" is used by Bush in his State of the Union address on Jan. 29.
May 2002

Treaty of Moscow signed on strategic offensive reductions:

  • The treaty reduces levels of operationally deployed warheads to 1,700-2,000 by 2012.       
  • It also gives Putin more clout on the international stage as a partner to the U.S.
May 2002

NATO-Russia Council summit:

  • Bush and Putin agree to create the NATO-Russia Council, which will work toward cooperation in areas of common interests, including nonproliferation and a joint peacekeeping force in Bosnia.
June 2002The G8 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction is established at Kananaskis, Canada. U.S. pledges $10 billion, and others another $10 billion over 10 years.
July 2002

U.S. withdraws from ABM Treaty signed in 1972.

  • The withdrawal is accompanied by a statement from Bush, saying the U.S. is committed to moving forward with missile defense programs.
  • In response, the Kremlin announces that it is no longer bound by START II, a treaty that had never entered into full force. However, Putin notes that Bush’s decision “does not threaten Russia's national security” and that “the existing level of bilateral relations must not only be preserved but used to work out a new framework of strategic relations as soon as possible.”
Nov 2002Bush flies to St. Petersburg after a NATO summit in Prague to meet with Putin. Bush personally thanks Putin for his support on a recent U.N. resolution on Iraq. The two also discuss efforts against terrorism, NATO expansion, NATO-Russia cooperation, energy, technology and strategic stability, and they issue a joint statement on the development of a U.S.-Russian Energy Dialogue, offering support for closer governmental ties on energy issues and for closer commercial cooperation in this area.
March 2003

Russia opposes U.S.-led invasion of Iraq:

  • Putin calls the invasion an error in policy and intelligence and claims he had warned the U.S. about the 9/11 attacks two days prior to their occurrence.
April 2003The Roadmap for Middle East Peace, developed by the U.S. in cooperation with Russia, the European Union and the United Nations (“the Quartet”), is presented to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
March 2004Fifth wave of NATO expansion: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia admitted.
March 2004Putin elected president for a second term.
February 2005

Bush-Putin summit in Bratislava:

  • Putin and Bush discuss nuclear security, particularly the possibility of nuclear terrorism.
  • Both agree to help countries processing uranium move to low-enriched fuel.
  • A new joint senior group on nuclear issues is created that will update the governments and work together on best practices, reactor conversion, enhancing nuclear security and bettering emergency response systems on both sides.
  • The U.S. and Russia also agree to work toward Russian membership in the WTO.
July 2006

Bush and Putin establish the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism at St. Petersburg G8 summit:

  • The joint initiative increases nuclear facility security and work against nuclear terrorism incidents.
  • Thirteen countries join initially. By 2016, 86 are party to the treaty.
March 2007

Russia opposes U.S. plans to build missile defense shield in Poland:

  • Russia responds by threatening to withdraw from the INF Treaty.
July 2007Russia formally notifies NATO member states of its intention to suspend participation in the CFE Treaty at the end of the year, largely in protest of the U.S. missile-defense plans in Eastern Europe.
April 2008

NATO summit in Bucharest:

  • Putin personally attends to avert granting of Membership Action Plans (MAP) to Georgia and Ukraine. Although the plans are ultimately blocked by Germany, the U.S. and many NATO allies agree that Georgia and Ukraine will one day be NATO members. However, no action plan is extended to these countries.
  • NATO members invite Albania and Croatia to join, and agree that expansion should continue.
March 2008Dmitry Medvedev is elected president of Russia with Putin’s blessing.
May 2008Putin’s presidency ends and he becomes prime minister under Medvedev.
August 2008

U.S. and Poland agree to 10 two-stage missile interceptors on Polish territory.

  • Russia responds that it will increase its Western border defenses and place short-range Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad exclave.

August 2008




Russo-Georgian war:

  • Russia claims its citizens and Russian-speaking compatriots were being targeted in South Ossetia and Abkhazia by Georgian forces; Georgia claims Russian peacekeeping troops were targeting Georgian civilians and planning to invade Georgia.
  • Russia and Georgia mobilize and fight a five-day war over the two separatist provinces, ending in a stalemate and internationally negotiated treaty.
  • The U.S. supported Georgia throughout the war and condemned Russia’s actions, although Bush called on President Mikhail Saakashvili to stand down.
  • The U.N. reports after the war that human rights violations were committed on both sides.
April 2009 Sixth wave of NATO expansion: Albania and Croatia admitted.
July 2009

Reset” in relations:

  • After conflict in Georgia, U.S. President Barack Obama calls for the U.S. and Russia to reset relations and renew cooperation to address nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea.
September 2009On Sept. 17, Obama announces the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to missile defense in Europe, with stated purpose of countering threat posed by Iranian short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
April 2010

Medvedev-Obama Prague summit:

  • The U.S. and Russia sign New START after START treaties expired in December 2009.
  • Treaty cuts deployed strategic warheads by 30 percent, down to 1,550.
  • ICBMs and SLBMs are limited to 700.
June 2010The U.S. and Russia cooperate on tightening sanctions on Iran over nuclear program.
June 2010

The U.S. announces it has arrested 10 Russian spies living in America.

  • Putin is highly critical, though says he doesn’t want this to hamper the reset in relations.
  • The Russian Foreign Ministry says arrests are an “unjustified throwback to the Cold War.”
January 2011U.S. and Russia bring into force the 123 Agreement on nuclear cooperation.
March 2011Russia abstains on UNSR on no-fly zone on Libya. Putin then criticizes abstention as Gadhafi is removed from power and killed.
October 2011

Russia vetoes a U.S.-backed U.N. resolution condemning the Assad regime in Syria.

  • Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin claims that Syria needs a gradual and apolitical approach, as opposed to the options the U.S. has proposed.
  • His U.S. counterpart, Susan Rice, affirms that a resolution condemning the human rights abuses will not lead to military action in Syria.
Fall 2011Massive protests in Moscow after allegations of rigged Duma elections. Putin blames the U.S. and accuses Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of personally interfering.
March 2012

Putin is elected to third presidential term, which will end in 2018.

  • Thousands protest Putin’s reelection, citing widespread election fraud.
August 2012Russia joins the WTO.
September 2012USAID is expelled from Russia.
December 2012Congress passes the Magnitsky Act, which imposes sanctions on a group of Russian officials and repeals the effects of the Jackson–Vanik amendment on Russia and Moldova.
June 2013U.S. citizen Edward Snowden arrives in Russia, after exposing NSA domestic surveillance program.
July 2013Russia, which does not have an extradition agreement with the U.S., grants asylum to Snowden.
September 2013

 G20 summit in St. Petersburg:

  • Russian and other world leaders pressure Obama not to intervene militarily in Syria, marking an ongoing rift between the U.S. and Russia over how to deal with Syria’s civil war.
  • Putin gives Obama a plan on Syria, later agreed to by Assad, to remove all of the chemical weapons from the country.
February 2014Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych flees the country after mass protests in Kiev’s Maidan Square urging him to sign an Association Agreement with the EU, which had started the previous fall.
March 2014Following the ouster of Yanukovych, Russia annexes Crimea. The U.S. and EU impose two rounds of sanctions in March-April, targeting primarily Russian individuals and companies involved in the annexation, and they suspend Russia’s membership in the G8.
April 2014

Fighting begins in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.

  • The conflict has continued through 2018, despite numerous ceasefires and internationally mediated meetings between Ukraine and Russia.
July 2014
  • Sectoral sanctions (third round) are imposed on Russia by the EU and U.S. over Ukraine.
  • Separately, the U.S. accuses Russia of violating the INF Treaty by testing and deploying a new cruise missile system (identified by U.S. sources as SSC-8). The State Department would renew the complaint each subsequent year through 2017. Russia in turn would accuse the U.S. of violating the treaty by deploying an MK41VLS launcher capable of launching cruise missiles as part of the Aegis Ashore missile defense system in Romania.
August 2014Russia counter-sanctions the U.S. and EU countries, banning imports of agricultural products.
February 2015Minsk II Accord signed, laying out principles to end the conflict in Ukraine.
March 2015Moscow stops taking part in the Joint Consultative Group on the CFE Treaty, effectively withdrawing from the 1990 arms-control pact.
September 2015Russia begins its air campaign in Syria.
November 2015Obama and Putin discuss Syria during the G20 summit in Turkey, agree to a U.N. framework for a ceasefire and eventual peaceful transition in Syria.
March 2016Russia refuses to attend the final Nuclear Security Summit.
September 2016Russia and the U.S. announce joint peace plan for Syria. After meetings in Geneva, Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, announce that the two countries have agreed on the provisions of a peace plan for Syria, but implementation of the agreement stalls.
September-October 2016Russia suspends the U.S.-Russia Plutonium Disposition Agreement, concerning the management and disposal of plutonium. Terms set forth by Moscow for resuming cooperation include the repeal of and compensation for U.S. sanctions and a rollback of U.S. forces in NATO member states admitted after Sept. 1, 2000. The Russian government then also suspends a 2013 agreement with the U.S. on nuclear energy research and development and terminates another, signed in 2010, on cooperation on the conversion of Russian research reactors to low-enriched uranium fuel.
November 2016Businessman and TV personality Donald Trump elected U.S. president with an exceptionally pro-Russia stance in his campaign.
December 2016
  • U.S. intelligence organizations say they have information confirming that Russian hackers intervened in the U.S. election in an effort to sway it in favor of Donald Trump, the president-elect.
  • Obama expels 35 Russian diplomats.
January 2017The U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence releases a declassified version of the Intelligence Community’s assessment that “Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election”; that “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency”; and that “Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

March-May 2017


After Trump fires FBI director James Comey, his predecessor Robert Mueller is officially appointed special counsel with the purpose of investigating “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and … any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” Meanwhile, several congressional committees pursue their own investigations.
June 2017Montenegro enters NATO.
July 2017

G20 summit in Hamburg:

  • Donald Trump holds first face-to-face meeting as president with Putin, in which he asks the Russian leader about election hacking and concludes that it’s “time to move forward” on the issue.
  • The two leaders are able to reach an agreement for a ceasefire in Syria, to be monitored by Russian military police in coordination with the U.S. and Jordan.
  • The meeting also yields the announcement of a new U.S. special envoy for Ukraine who would have a special communication channel with a Russian counterpart. 

August 2017


  • Trump signs a bill passed overwhelmingly by Congress that imposes new sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine and alleged election interference. At the same time, Trump calls the bill “seriously flawed” because it limits his ability to negotiate with Moscow.
  • In the period leading up to and following the signing of the sanctions bill, Moscow and Washington exchange in a tit-for-tat with Russia ordering that U.S. diplomatic staff in Russia be cut by 755 employees and the U.S. ordering the closure of Russia’s diplomatic headquarters in San Francisco.
November 2017After briefly meeting with Putin on the sidelines of a summit in Vietnam, Trump says the Russian leader again denied interfering in the U.S. election, and Trump says he believes him. The two leaders also announce agreement on a deconfliction plan in Syria and the broad outlines for a peace process in the war-torn country.

December 2017


  • Trump presents his National Security Strategy, which warns that China and Russia “challenge American power, influence and interests” and “are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.” In a speech announcing the strategy, Trump refrains from directly criticizing Russia and instead speaks positively of a phone call from Putin a few days earlier in which the Russian president credited the CIA with helping to avert a terror attack in St. Petersburg.
  • Separately, the Trump administration approves the limited sale of lethal weaponry to Ukraine, a move reportedly backed by the secretaries of defense and state, but not welcomed by Moscow. 
January 2018
  • The U.S. Treasury publishes a list of 210 people allegedly close to Vladimir Putin who may be designated for sanctions in the future. The list includes all members of the Russian Cabinet and presidential administration, other senior officials, the heads of state-run firms and 96 of Russia’s wealthiest businessmen.
  • The newly released 2018 U.S. National Defense Strategy says the U.S. must prepare to wage a great-power competition with China and Russia. The document highlights Russian actions to undermine democratic processes in Georgia, Crimea and eastern Ukraine, as well as Moscow’s efforts to “shatter” NATO.
  • Sergei Naryshkin, the head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR, and Alexander Bortnikov, head of the FSB, visit the U.S. to meet with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and discuss counterterrorism issues. Naryshkin also meets with U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
  • Trump names Russia and China as rivals of the U.S. in his State of the Union address.

February 2018


  • The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review states that the world has seen “the return of Great Power competition” and puts Russia at the core of U.S. nuclear strategy. The new document gives short shrift to arms control and diplomacy, but calls for two new systems—lower-yield nuclear weapons deployed on submarine-launched ballistic missiles and new nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles—to create “credible deterrence against regional aggression.” As part of its rationale the document cites Russia’s recent statements on its nuclear posture and the Kremlin’s reported belief that “limited nuclear first use, potentially including low-yield weapons,” would give Russia a strategic advantage.
  • The U.S. and Russia both declare that they have met the Feb. 5 deadline for compliance with the New START treaty, with Moscow and Washington posting their respective numbers of warheads and delivery systems.
  • Robert Mueller unveils an indictment of 13 Russian citizens and three Russian companies for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections by creating fake online personas to help Trump’s presidential campaign and hurt Clinton’s.
  • In Syria, U.S. forces clash with Russian mercenaries allegedly working for an opaque private military firm (with reported links to the Kremlin and Defense Ministry via entrepreneur Yevgeny Prigozhin); the precise number of Russian casualties is unknown, but early reports put the figure as high as 300 killed and injured, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who headed the CIA at the time of the fighting, later told Congress that “a couple of hundred” Russians were killed.
  • The U.S. Intelligence Community’s Worldwide Threat Assessment reiterates U.S. allegations that Russia has developed a ground-launched cruise missile that Washington believes to be in violation of the INF Treaty.
  • The White House accuses “the Russian military” of launching the devastating June 2017 cyberattack known as NotPetya, which caused billions of dollars in damage worldwide.
March 2018
  • In his address to parliament, Putin gives a litany of new long-range attack systems being developed by Russia’s defense industry, including: the Avangard strategic missile system; a high-precision hypersonic aircraft missile system; the Sarmat multiple-warhead ICBM, equipped with nuclear warheads, including hypersonic warheads; a miniature nuclear propulsion unit that can be installed on Russia’s air-to-surface Kh-101 missiles; and a high-speed underwater drone tested in 2017 with an "intercontinental" range and capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that could target both aircraft carriers and coastal facilities.
    • The U.S. responds by accusing Russia of developing destabilizing weapons systems in direct violation of its treaty obligations and of failing to exhibit “the behavior of a responsible international player.”
  • The United States imposes sanctions on five Russian entities and 19 Russian nationals, including Yevgeny Prigozhin and 12 others indicted in Robert Mueller’s investigation; the entities include Russia’s Federal Security Service, its military intelligence directorate and the Internet Research Agency, commonly known as the Russian “troll factory.”
  • A former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter are poisoned in England in a nerve-agent attack allegedly approved by the Russian state. In its initial response the Trump administration expels 60 Russian diplomats; the Kremlin expels 60 American diplomats from Russia in retaliation.
  • Foreign-policy hawk John Bolton is named Trump’s new national security adviser.
  • The House Intelligence Committee votes to approve a Republican-authored report saying there is no evidence of collusion between the Kremlin and Trump or his affiliates during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, ending the committee’s Russia probe.
  • Putin is re-elected to a fourth term as president.
  • Newly declassified documents show that in 1993 the U.S. State Department envisioned Russia being admitted to NATO in 2005.
April 2018
  • The U.S. issues new sanctions under CAATSA and earlier executive orders against Russian oligarchs, including Oleg Deripaska, Suleiman Kerimov, Viktor Vekselberg, Alexei Miller and Vladimir Bogdanov.
May 2018
  • The Senate Intelligence Committee says it sees no reason to dispute the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
June 2018
  • The U.S. issues new sanctions against a handful of Russian companies and nationals—including Digital Security, ERPScan, Divetechnoservices and Divetechnoservices-connected individuals Alexander Tribun, Oleg Chirikov and Vladimir Kaganskiy—for cyberattacks on U.S. energy and other interests.
July 2018
  • The Justice Department secures an indictment against 12 members of Russia’s military intelligence agency, known as the GRU, for hacking the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, as well as conspiring to hack into state election systems and other entities. The Justice Department also charges a Russian national, Maria Butina, with conspiring against the U.S. as an unregistered agent for the Russian government.
  • Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki, Finland. Putin and Trump both hail the meeting as a success.
    • The meeting establishes separate working groups of business leaders and foreign-policy experts, and follow-up meetings between the national security council staffs of both countries.
    • The Russian delegation passes a proposal to its U.S. counterparts for the two countries to reaffirm their commitment to New START, the INF Treaty, the Vienna document and the Open Skies treaty.
    • The longest encounter between the two presidents to date, lasting over two hours, included no other officials or notetakers, just interpreters.
August 2018
  • The United States imposes a ban on arms sales, arms-sales financing, U.S. government credit or other financial assistance, exports of national-security-sensitive goods and most foreign assistance to Russia under the terms of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991.
  • The U.S. State Department imposes fresh sanctions on Russia over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, with a second tranche of sanctions to be activated after 90 days.
September 2018
  • In the 60th sanctions package since 2011, the U.S. blacklists 33 Russian nationals and three entities.
  • Russia holds its Vostok-2018 military exercises with China participating for the first time directly in the exercise itself.
October 2018
  • Trump announces his intention to have the United States pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
  • John Bolton, Trump’s national security advisor, visits Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, and other senior officials, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
  • U.S. Justice Department officials announce charges against seven officers of Russia's GRU (including three who had been indicted for election interference) in connection with the leaking of athletes' drug-test data and efforts to steal information from organizations probing Russia's alleged use of chemical weapons, including the Skripal poisoning.
November 2018
  • U.S. Cyber Command, with intelligence from the National Security Agency, reportedly blocked internet access to the Russian Internet Research Agency during congressional mid-term elections, in what unnamed sources called the first offensive cyber-campaign against Russia designed to thwart attempts to interfere with a U.S. election.
  • Putin and Trump speak during a leaders' luncheon in Paris marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, but do not have a formal meeting (reportedly at the request of French President Emmanuel Macron). At the time Trump and Putin were expected to meet at the G20 summit in Argentina later in the month.
  • Trump cancels his scheduled G20 meeting with Putin at the last minute, citing Russia’s capture of Ukrainian ships and crew off Crimea.
December 2018
  • The U.S. says it will withdraw from the INF Treaty if Russia does not return to compliance within 60 days.
  • Trump announces that he is pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, declaring the Islamic State defeated. However, his administration is then reported to have revised the withdrawal timeline amid concerns from allies and military leaders.
January 2019
  • Trump unveils the new Missile Defense Review (MDR), saying that Washington’s goal is “to ensure we can detect and destroy any missile launched against us, anywhere, anytime, anyplace.”  The document says “the United States relies on deterrence to protect against large and technically sophisticated Russian and Chinese intercontinental ballistic missile threats to the U.S. homeland.”
  • The U.S. National Intelligence Strategy says Russia's efforts to expand its influence and the modernization of China's military are among the "ever more diverse" threats facing the United States.
  • The U.S. Intelligence Community releases the new Worldwide Threat Assessment, describing Russia as a major threat to U.S. interests not just in its own right but particularly in tandem with China—a pairing mentioned about twice as often as in the previous year’s assessment.
  • Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan is detained in Russia on charges of espionage, which he denies.
February 2019
  • The United States suspends its obligations under the INF Treaty, with plans to formally withdraw in six months if Russia does not return to compliance. In response, Russia also suspends its involvement in the treaty. Later in the month, Putin tells parliament that Russia does not intend to be the first to deploy INF-range missiles in Europe, but would have to target the U.S. if it deploys weapons that Russia sees as a direct threat.  
  • In his state-of-the-nation address Putin says Russia does not want confrontation with the U.S., but accuses Washington of ignoring Russia's "legitimate interests" and of organizing "anti-Russian activities."
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accuses Russia of "grand designs of dominating Europe” and the U.S. ambassador to Poland says Washington plans to significantly increase its troop numbers in the country.
  • Russia detains investor Michael Calvey on embezzlement charges, which he denies, linking them to a dispute with a Russian bank.
  • Russia sentences two cybersecurity experts, including an FSB colonel whose work had officially included liaising with U.S. cyber-crime investigators, to lengthy prison terms for passing classified information to Western intelligence agencies.
March 2019
  • The U.S. sanctions six Russian individuals and eight entities for involvement in the November 2018 attacks on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait and other Ukraine-related actions.
  • A summary of the Mueller report released by the U.S. attorney general says the special counsel investigation found no evidence that Trump or any of his aides coordinated with the Russian government’s 2016 election interference; while the “report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” according to the summary.
April 2019
  • The U.S. halts deliveries to Turkey related to the F-35 fighter-jet program in response to Ankara's decision to move ahead with the purchase of the Russian S-400 air-defense system.
  • The Justice Department posts a redacted version of Mueller’s report online, revealing a trove of details about the two-year investigation. While the report explicitly “does not exonerate” Trump from any crimes, U.S. Attorney General William Barr, said in his presentation of the report “that the evidence … is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice.”
  • Twenty-four Democratic senators write a letter urging Trump to renew New START.
  • Russia launches a special-purpose, nuclear-powered submarine, Belgorod, that is believed capable of carrying nuclear-tipped Poseidon underwater drones that could threaten U.S. coastal cities.
  • The U.S., Russia and China agree on the goal of withdrawing foreign forces from Afghanistan and to seek an "inclusive Afghan-led" peace process, the three countries declare in a joint statement. 
May 2019
  • Lavrov describes U.S. and Russian positions in the Venezuela crisis as “incompatible.”
  • When passing a $750 billion draft National Defense Authorization Act, the Senate Armed Services Committee acknowledges that “our margin of military supremacy has eroded and is undermined by new threats from strategic competitors like China and Russia.”
  • After Iran halts compliance with elements of JCPOA, the Kremlin states that the Trump administration's "poorly conceived, reckless decisions" have led Iran to curtail its commitments.
  • The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designates five individuals and one entity pursuant to the Magnitsky Act. 
  • U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency Director Robert Ashley says that "the United States believes that Russia probably is not adhering to its nuclear testing moratorium in a manner consistent with the 'zero-yield' standard." The Russian Foreign Ministry calls the statement a “crude provocation.”
June 2019
  • The U.S. agrees to station "about 1,000" more military personnel in Poland. The Russian Foreign Ministry says the move represents a “further dangerous build-up of military capabilities on the continent.”
  • In a Financial Times interview, Putin claims “the liberal idea” has “outlived its purpose,” sparking disagreement from Western leaders.
  • Putin and Trump meet at the G20 summit in Japan and discuss a range of issues, including improving economic ties, arms control issues, Syria and China. The two leaders reportedly agree “that improved relations between the United States and Russia was in each countries' mutual interest and the interest of the world,” and Putin invites Trump to Moscow to mark the anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany.
July 2019
  • Russian and Chinese bombers conduct their first long-range joint air patrol in the Asia-Pacific. The mission triggers hundreds of warning shots from South Korean warplanes and accusations from Seoul that Russian military aircraft violated South Korean airspace.
  • In his testimony before Congress, Mueller clarifies that he had not exonerated Trump of acting to obstruct the Russia probe. He disagrees with the president’s characterization of his investigation as a “witch hunt” and warns that Russian meddling threatens the 2020 U.S. election.
August 2019
  • Trump signs an executive order imposing fresh sanctions on Russia over the 2018 poisoning of Sergei Skripal.
  • The U.S. formally withdraws from the INF Treaty after determining that Moscow is in violation of the treaty, a claim the Kremlin repeatedly denied. Putin says Russia would respond in kind if the U.S. develops short- and intermediate-range, land-based nuclear missiles following the demise of the INF. In February 2019, Russia had suspended its participation in INF in a “symmetrical” response to the Trump administration’s announcement that it would withdraw from the Treaty in six months, should Russia not come into compliance.
  • Trump reiterates his call for Russia to be allowed to rejoin the G7.
  • Jon Huntsman submits his resignation from the post of U.S. Ambassador to Russia.
September 2019
  • U.S. Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says "Russia is a competitor, and the NATO advantage over a resurgent Russia has eroded."
  • U.S. media report the CIA in 2017 extracted a Russian who provided top-secret intelligence on Putin, including information about alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. 2016 presidential election.
October 2019
  • Trump withdraws most U.S. troops from Syria.
  • Western security officials reportedly conclude that operations such as the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and a thwarted coup in Montenegro are part of a coordinated and ongoing campaign to destabilize Europe, executed by an elite unit known as Unit 29155 inside the Russian intelligence system.
November 2019
  • Russia formally proposes to the U.S. that the two nuclear superpowers extend New START, which expires in February 2021, by five years.
December 2019
  • Trump and Pompeo host Lavrov in Washington, agreeing with him on the need for denuclearization of North Korea, but disagreeing on whether to extend New START, as the U.S. side insists on including China in a new arms control deal.
  • The U.S. approves sanctions on companies and governments working on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, causing Western contractors to stop constructing the pipeline.
  • Trump signs the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), creating the U.S. Space Force, the sixth branch of the armed forces.
January 2020
  • Following the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani by an American drone strike, the Russia Foreign Ministry condemns the act as a “reckless step which could lead to a growth of tensions across the region.”
  • The entire Russian government resigns, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev after Putin proposes a series of amendments to the Russian Constitution meant to enable him to continue steering Russia after his fourth presidential term expires in 2024. Putin appoints Mikhail Mishustin as the new prime minister.
  • The Trump administration cracks down on “birth tourism” by making it harder for pregnant women, including hundreds of Russian women, to travel to the U.S. to secure American citizenship for their babies by giving birth in the country.
  • Pompeo sets off on a trip to Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In Uzbekistan, he meets with the foreign ministers of all five Central Asian nations.
February 2020
  • Chief of the Russian Armed Forces’ General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov meets Commander-in-Chief of NATO forces in Europe Gen. Tod Wolters in Baku to discuss strategic stability, situations in crisis regions and practical steps to prevent incidents in the process of the two sides’ military activity.
  • U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan presents his diplomatic credentials to Putin and Lavrov.  
  • The Trump administration’s budget proposals for fiscal year 2021 call for $4.5 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative, a fund started by the Obama administration in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, representing a precipitous drop from the $6 billion enacted for the current fiscal year and $6.5 billion the year before.
  • A median of 50 percent of respondents in 16 NATO member states believe their country should not defend a fellow NATO ally against a potential attack from Russia, with the share of those who hold such views reaching 66 percent in Italy, 60 percent in Germany and 53 percent in France, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.
  • Lavrov tells Rossiiskaya Gazeta that counter-terrorism dialogue with the U.S. resumed last year. Lavrov says the U.S. over the past few years has on a couple of occasions shared information that helped prevent terrorist attacks in Russia. "We have been sharing relevant information, too, since the Boston Marathon incident. It looks like we’ve resumed contacts," Lavrov said.
  • American military and diplomatic officials say Russian military personnel have increasingly had run-ins with U.S. troops on highways in northeastern Syria, breaking agreements between the two countries to steer clear of each other. Russian helicopters are flying closer to American troops. 
  • Facebook removes two unconnected networks of accounts, pages and groups “engaging in foreign or government interference,” one originating in Russia and the other one in Iran, both of which have alleged ties to intelligence services.
  • Russia adds the legal entity of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty news organization to its list of “foreign agent” media under a controversial law that requires listed outlets to disclose their funding sources.
  • Georgia, the U.S. and U.K. blame Russia for a massive coordinated cyberattack that took thousands of Georgian websites offline in October 2019. The U.K. and U.S. say they believe the attacks were perpetrated by the Sandworm team, a unit operated by Russia’s military intelligence service. 
  • When asked by the New York Times if Russia continues on its current course in Ukraine and other former Soviet states, should the United States regard it as an adversary, or even an enemy, all of America’s Democratic presidential candidates answered in the affirmative.
March 2020
  • Both houses of Russia's parliament approve a bill containing constitutional amendments that will allow Putin to run for two more terms in 2024 and 2030.
  • Russia begins reporting COVID-19 cases.
April 2020
  • The United States designates Russian far-right group Russian Imperial Movement as a foreign terrorist organization, the first time it has targeted white supremacist groups with tools regularly used against jihadist groups.
  • bipartisan report by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help elect Donald Trump was accurate and based on strongly sourced information.
  • The U.S. State Department reports that Russia, China and Iran are mounting disinformation campaigns against the U.S. relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 2020
  • The United States notifies Russia of its intent to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty.
June 2020
  • U.S. intelligence agencies assess that Russian military intelligence offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Moscow rejects this assessment as unfounded.
July 2020
  • U.S. and Russian officials meet in Vienna, Austria to hold their first talks on space security and militarization since 2013.
August 2020
  • Russia becomes the first country to grant regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny is poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok, and Russian FSB operatives are suspected to be behind the attack.
September 2020
  • Alexander Lukashenko is sworn in for a sixth term as president of Belarus, following large-scale protests since August 2020 over what is considered a fraudulent election.
  • Clashes erupt between Armenian and Azerbaijani armed forces within the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
October 2020
  • Russia, France and the United States issue a joint demand for an immediate ceasefire between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces as the latter attack the former in the disputed Nagorno Karabakh region.
  • The United States Department of Commerce and Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom sign the final amendment to the Agreement Suspending the Antidumping Investigation on Uranium from the Russian Federation, which extends the agreement to 2040 and reduces the allowed Russian uranium exports from 20 percent of U.S. enrichment demand to about 17 percent over the next twenty years.
  • The EU imposes sanctions on six top Russian officials over their alleged involvement in the chemical weapon poisoning of opposition activist Alexei Navalny.
  • The United States charges six Russian military intelligence officers with involvement in a hacking campaign targeting several foreign powers and infrastructure networks.
November 2020
  • Putin signs executive order “On the Strategy for Developing the Russian Arctic Zone and Ensuring National Security until 2035”, which announces the construction of new nuclear-powered icebreakers to ensure navigation along the Northern Sea Route.
  • Leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia sign an agreement to end fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory, which provides for deployment of Russian peacekeepers to the zone of the conflict.
  • U.S. officials report that Russia has not conducted a hacking or disinformation campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, nor did it target elections systems.
  • A former Green Beret officer pleads guilty in a U.S. federal court to conspiring with Russian intelligence officers and providing them with classified information.
  • The U.S. Navy sends the USS John S. McCain on a freedom of navigation operation to challenge Russia’s maritime claims in the Western Pacific.
December 2020
  • Russian state-run news agency reports that the Russian navy will participate in joint exercises alongside NATO members for the first time in 10 years.
  • U.S. officials accuse the Russian government of being behind the hack of software company SolarWinds, considered to be one of the largest cyber breaches of U.S government agencies.
  • Putin becomes one of the last world leaders to congratulate U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on winning the November 2020 U.S. presidential election.
January 2021
  • The U.S. remains the top exporter of arms in 2016-2020, accounting for 37% of global arms transfers, according to SIPRI. Russia, the world's second-largest exporter, accounts for one-fifth of global arms deliveries.
  • Putin makes no immediate statement on the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack in Washington, D.C., but senior Russian lawmakers weigh in. Konstantin Kosachyov, chair of the Russian senate's foreign affairs committee, says: "The celebration of democracy has … hit rock bottom.” Leonid Slutsky, his counterpart in the lower house, says “the boomerang of the color revolutions is turning back on the United States."
  •  U.S. security agencies say Russia was likely behind a massive cyber espionage campaign uncovered late in 2020 but describe it as “an intelligence gathering effort” rather than data manipulation or something more destructive. Russia denies involvement. Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo approves the creation of a bureau to counter cybersecurity threats.
  •  Russia says it will withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty. Putin will officially sign off on the decision in June and the process is to end in December.
  • The Trump administration on Jan. 14 labels China, Iran, Russia, Cuba and North Korea foreign adversaries under new rules aimed at protecting the U.S. telecoms supply chain. Shipments of equipment and software from these nations could be blocked as posing a national-security risk.
  • As Biden takes oath of office, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says "nothing will change for Russia.” 
  • U.S. intelligence officials quietly conclude that more than a thousand Russian software engineers were most likely involved in the SolarWinds hack, according to the New York Times. 
  • A poll of 15,000 Europeans in 11 countries reveals that in no surveyed country would a majority want to take Washington’s side in a conflict with Russia. 
  • On Jan. 29, three days after a phone conversation with newly inaugurated U.S. President Joe Biden, Putin signs a law extending the New START nuclear treaty for five years. According to the White House, the two presidents had “agreed to explore strategic stability discussions on a range of arms control and emerging security issues.” 
February 2021
  • The Biden administration likewise extends the New START treaty by five years. The Russian Foreign Ministry welcomes the move, expressing hope that Biden was turning the page on the "destructive U.S. policy" of ending arms control measures. 
  • Naval forces from 45 countries, including the U.S., Russia, China and Turkey reportedly take part in the Aman 2021 naval exercises, which kicked off in Pakistan on Feb. 12—marking the first time in 10 years that Russian and NATO naval forces took part in a joint exercise.
  • In a speech to the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 19, Biden argues that the only way to deal with Russia is to push back hard. Russia remains intent on undermining Western democracy and must not be allowed to succeed, he says, adding that “the Kremlin … weaponizes corruption.”
  • Russians' attitudes toward the United States improve after a year of deteriorating sentiment, according to the Levada Center. A January 2021 poll showed nearly equal shares of Russians with positive and negative assessments of the U.S.: 40% versus 43%, respectively. 
  • Putin calls on the Federal Security Service, or FSB, to prioritize the Western threat in its work this year along with its primary task of countering terrorism.
March 2021
  • The Biden administration singles out a "growing rivalry with China, Russia and other authoritarian states" as a key challenge facing the United States in its Interim National Security Strategic Guidance. At the same time, the document notes the extension of New START, pledging that the administration will “engage in meaningful dialogue with Russia and China on a range of emerging military technological developments that implicate strategic stability,” will “pursue new arms control arrangements” and “take steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.” 
  • A Gallup poll released March 1 shows that Americans’ overall favorable view of Russia has dropped to a new low of 22% and 77% now have an unfavorable opinion of the country.
  • The U.S. and EU announce coordinated sanctions against Russian officials over the poisoning and imprisonment of Alexei Navalny.
  • Asked if he thought Putin was a killer, Biden tells ABC: "Mmm hmm, I do." Biden also says he has come to know Putin "relatively well" over the years and doesn't believe Putin has a soul.
  • U.S. intelligence concludes that Putin authorized “influence operations” to support Trump’s bid for re-election in the 2020 presidential campaign. The assessment from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence finds that the Kremlin did not back hacking missions like those in 2016, which included attempts to break into “election infrastructure.”
  • A Levada Center poll shows that 29% of Russians think Russia is a European country, while 64% think it is not.
  • Politico, citing two congressional sources, reports that suspected Russian hackers stole thousands of U.S. State Department officials’ emails last year.
  • Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and his Russian counterpart, General Valery Gerasimov, speak by phone as Russia builds up armed forces near Ukraine’s borders.
April 2021
  • Russia's top diplomat, Sergei Lavrov, says April 1 that the country's relations with the United States and its allies have “hit bottom.
  • report by the U.S. National Intelligence Council says Russia will likely remain a “disruptive power” for the next two decades, but its global influence may decline in the face of political, economic and societal headwinds.
  • The U.S. Air Force decides to retire the planes used for monitoring Russia under the Open Skies Treaty. An internal memo to U.S. partners by the State Department says the U.S. would send the “wrong message” to Russia by rejoining the treaty.
  • Biden announces his first unilateral sanctions against Russia two days after a conversation with Putin, noting that he “could have gone further but chose not to” and that “now is the time to de-escalate.”
  • Russia sees the U.S. as its “adversary,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov says April 13, marking a departure from Russia’s earlier references to the U.S. as a “partner.”
  • The 2021 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community says: “We assess that Russia does not want a direct conflict with U.S. forces,” but also that “Moscow is well positioned to increase its role in the Caucasus, intervene in Belarus … and continue destabilization efforts against Ukraine.”
  • The White House says the U.S. intelligence community does not have conclusive evidence that Russian operatives encouraged the Taliban to attack American troops in Afghanistan. This marks a shift from Biden’s claims as a presidential candidate that Putin was “actually paying bounties to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.”
  • In his annual address to parliament on April 21, Putin accuses Western countries of trying to “to impose their will on others by force” and warns against crossing Russia’s red lines, which his press secretary defines as protecting the “interests of our external and domestic security and preventing any foreign meddling.”
  • The Czech Republic alleges that Russian agents were involved in a 2014 arms depot blast, setting off a series of mutual expulsions of diplomats.
  • EU diplomats report that more than 100,000 Russian troops have been positioned near the Ukrainian border, with the Pentagon saying this buildup is larger than in 2014.
  • At an April 22 climate summit, Biden commits the U.S. to slashing its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 52% by 2030 and Putin says Russia has set out to "significantly limit" net emissions by 2050.
  • Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rules out the possibility of creating a bloc between Russia and China in order to oppose the U.S., saying Putin understands the term "alliance" differently than Biden, according to Interfax.
  • Russia’s trade with the U.S. was up 15.7% in January-April, making America Russia’s fourth largest trading partner outside the former Soviet Union in that period, behind China, Germany and the Netherlands, according to Russia’s customs service.
May 2021
  • Senior Defense Department officials say that close to 80,000 Russian troops remain near various parts of the border with Ukraine. "Russia has the capacity on pretty short notice to take further aggressive action, so we're being very vigilant about that … and also making sure that we're helping Ukraine have the means to defend itself," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
  • Biden says the U.S. government has “strong reason” to believe that the hackers behind a cyberattack that shut the Colonial oil pipeline, a group called DarkSide, were based in Russia but it does not believe the Kremlin was involved in the attack. DarkSide avoids targeting computers that use languages from former Soviet republics, cyber experts say.
  • Putin submits a bill on May 11 to withdraw Russia from the Open Skies Treaty after the United States’ exit last year.
  • During their meeting in  Reykjavik on May 19, Blinken and Lavrov discuss “areas in which both of our peoples could benefit from sustained and enhanced cooperation, including Afghanistan, strategic stability and curbing Iran and the DPRK’s nuclear programs,” according to the U.S. State Department. Afterwards, Lavrov says the Russian side reaffirmed a “proposal to start a dialogue by considering all factors influencing strategic stability.”  
  • Blinken announces the decision to waive the application of sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG—the company overseeing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project—as well as its chief executive, Matthias Warnig.
  • Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says the United States is toeing a dangerous line in maintaining an appropriate level of competition with China and Russia. "We … can see it fraying at the edge," Milley says. "With history as our guide, we would be wise to lift our gaze from the never-ending urgency of the present to set the conditions for a future that prevents great power war. … Right now we are in a great power competition with China and Russia … [a]nd we need to keep it at competition and avoid great power conflict.”
  • Meat plants across the U.S. and Australia shut down for at least a day after a ransomware attack attributed to a “Russian-speaking hacker gang” called REvil halted operations at JBS, the world’s largest beef supplier. JBS would later say it paid about $11 million in ransom to the hackers.
  • In January to May 2021, Russia’s key non-CIS trading partners were China, with a turnover of $50.1 billion (up 26.1% year on year); Germany, with a turnover of $21.2 billion (+29.7%); the Netherlands, with a turnover of $16 billion (+23.7%) and the United States, with a turnover of $13.1 billion (+24.1%), TASS reports.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says Russia will form 20 new “units and formations” in the country’s west by the end of the year in response to a growing NATO threat.
June 2021
  • Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov tells the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum that Russia’s $186 billion national welfare fund would completely divest its $41 billion worth of holdings in dollars within a month, increasing its share of euros to 40% and Chinese yuan to 30%, with another 20% stored in gold.
  • With less than a week to go before a Biden-Putin summit in Switzerland, the White House orders the Pentagon to delay a long-planned hypersonic missile test so as not to raise tensions with Moscow. A U.S. defense official notes that the Russians likewise “didn’t do [provocative] things in advance of that summit. This is not unusual at all for the sake of table-setting.”  
  • Days after Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Russia would send “unpleasant signals” to the U.S. ahead of the Biden-Putin summit, Moscow announces its denunciation of a 1992 U.S.-Russian memorandum on "open 
  • lands," which allowed diplomats to travel without seeking permission and abolished most so-called closed areas.
  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley believes the biggest threats the U.S. faces are China and Russia. "Combined, the Russian and Chinese budgets exceed our budgets if all the cards are put on the table," he notes.
  • Asked what position Russia would take in the event of an armed conflict between China and the United States, Russian Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov says: “I am convinced that there will be no armed conflict between China and the United States… however, if you are asking about the judgment of the international situation, then Russia's position is clearly much closer to China's.”
  • During their June 16 summit in Geneva, Biden and Putin agree to: (a) return the U.S. and Russian ambassadors to the respective capitals; (b) resume a U.S.-Russian dialogue on strategic stability, reaffirming the key principle that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”; (c) enter a bilateral dialogue on cyber security. While Putin says after the summit that “the main result is these flashes of trust,” Biden separately says: “This is not about trust; this is about self-interest and verification of self-interest.” While the two leaders discussed prisoner exchanges, no deadline is set or agreement reached.
  • Leaders of the G7 nations say on June 13: “We reiterate our interest in stable and predictable relations with Russia, and will continue to engage where there are areas of mutual interest.”
  • Following a one-day summit in Brussels, NATO leaders say on June 14: "Until Russia demonstrates compliance with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities, there can be no return to 'business as usual.’”
  • At their June 16 summit, the U.S. and EU agree to "establish a high-level EU-U.S. dialogue on Russia” to “coordinate our policies and actions.” 
  • Russia says one of its warships fired warning shots and a warplane dropped bombs in the path of Britain's HMS Defender to force it from an area near Crimea that Moscow claims as its territorial waters; a week later Putin claims that a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft was operating in concert with the Defender; Ryabkov warns that in such cases Russia “may drop bombs and not just in the path but right on target.”
  • On June 24, a proposal by France and Germany to hold an EU-Russia summit with Putin faces fierce resistance from some of the member states. As a result, the participants only agree to maintain and develop a dialogue with Russia.
  • In an op-ed in Die Zeit, Putin writes that “Russia is in favor of restoring a comprehensive partnership with Europe.”
  • The leaders of China and Russia announce the extension of a 20-year-old friendship treaty as Putin and Xi hold a televised meeting by video link.
  • Rosatom releases annual report stating that in 2020 U.S. diplomats warned their Russian counterparts that ISIS was plotting to acquire radioactive substances in Russia, prompting all Russian operators of sites handling radioactive material and associated facilities to conduct unscheduled physical protection audits in September 2020.
  • During his annual call-in show on June 30 Putin portrays the U.S. as a waning power: "On one hand, our partners in the United States understand this; therefore there was a meeting in Geneva. On the other hand, they are trying at all costs to maintain their monopoly position.”
  • Putin reveals that he received the domestically produced Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine and urges Russians to get vaccinated as COVID-19 cases and deaths surge amid widespread hesitancy to get the shot.
  • Russia and the U.S. join efforts to organize an event commemorating those killed in the 9/11 attacks, ahead of their 20th anniversary, Vladimir Voronkov, under secretary general of the U.N. Office of Counter-Terrorism, tells a press conference on June 30.
July 2021
  • The U.N. Security Council on July 9 extends a cross-border aid operation into Syria from Turkey after Russia agrees to a compromise in last-minute talks with the U.S., ensuring the delivery of humanitarian help to millions of Syrians for the next 12 months.
  • Biden tells Putin in a July 9 phone call that he must “take action” against cybercriminals acting in Russia and that the U.S. reserves the right to “defend its people and its critical infrastructure”; this reiterates earlier comments by White House press secretary Jen Psaki in the wake of a massive ransomware attack via breached software made by multi-national tech firm Kaseya.  
  • Putin signs a National Security Strategy. A comparison between the 2021 document and its 2015 predecessor reveals that the Kremlin has strengthened its determination to deter the West and engage Asia, seeing them, respectively, as declining and rising, while starting to pay more attention to domestic components of national security, such as human capital.
  • The Guardian claims that leaked Kremlin documents show that Putin personally authorized a secret spy agency operation to support a “mentally unstable” Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election during a closed session of Russia’s national security council. Putin’s spokesman Peskov tells the newspaper the idea that Russian leaders had met and agreed to support Trump was “great pulp fiction”; Trump dismisses the report as “disgusting” and “fiction.”
  • U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and Putin agree during a July 14 phone call that the U.S. and Russia should work together on climate issues. "The climate problem is one of the areas where Russia and the United States have common interests and similar approaches," Putin says during the call with Kerry, who was visiting Moscow at the time.
  • Amid deteriorating security in Afghanistan, Kommersant reports that, during their June 16 summit, Putin offered Biden the coordinated use of Russian military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan for information gathering from Afghanistan. Lavrov says Russia will continue working with the U.S. to help stabilize Afghanistan, but Washington’s “mission has failed," he says, blaming the instability in Afghanistan on the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces.
  • Russian and U.S. negotiators have held four rounds of consultations on cybersecurity issues, including one in Geneva in mid-July, Ryabkov tells a Russian-American dialogue on nuclear issues.
  • NATO holds exercises in the Black Sea, saying it has increased its presence there “since Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea.”
  • The U.S. and Germany say they have reached an agreement to allow the completion of Nord Stream 2, agreeing on measures, including the possible implementation of sanctions against Russia, that aim to soften any impact on Ukraine's budget and national security from the pipeline’s completion. 
  • Per an agreement reached at the U.S.-Russian summit in June, U.S. and Russian teams led by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov hold "professional and substantive" talks in Geneva on July 28 on "maintaining strategic stability, the prospects for arms control and measures to reduce risks." Washington wants China to be included in wider talks on nuclear arms control, while Russia wants Britain and France included.
  • Moscow forces the U.S. diplomatic mission in Russia to stop employing foreign nationals in any capacity as of Aug. 1, slashing the number of personnel staffing the U.S. Embassy and consulates by around 90% percent.
  • Lavrov becomes  the latest Russian political figure to praise the Taliban, with the Kremlin calling it a “powerful force” and Russia's envoy for Afghanistan calling its rapid takeover of border areas “positive” for regional security.
August 2021
  • Russia is supplying more oil and refined petroleum products to the U.S. than any other foreign producer aside from Canada,with growth driven largely by high prices.
  • Soviet Air Force veteran Viktor Alksnis says Russian military pilots use commercial GPS receivers during their combat operations in Syria.
  • Russian forces take part in a regular Chinese military exercise, Sibu/Interaction 2021, for the first time, operating Chinese hardware. Some analysts believe the two militaries could grant each other access to electronic communications systems and build joint command structures.
  • U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, speak by telephone about ongoing strategic stability talks, discussing "transparency and risk-reduction efforts.”
  • After Taliban fighters take over Afghanistan’s capital, the U.S. reaches out to Russia to discuss the situation. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports that Putin, during the June 16 summit with Biden, “objected to any role for American forces in Central Asian countries,” according to senior U.S. and Russian officials. Former and current U.S. officials saw this as indicating “that Moscow is more determined to try to maintain Central Asia as a sphere of influence than to expand cooperation with a new American president over the turmoil in Afghanistan,” according to the newspaper.
  • Russia, with its array of hard-to-detect cruise missiles and advanced submarines, poses the primary military threat to the American homeland today, Air Force Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command, says Aug. 17.
  • The Biden administration puts Russia’s “market economy” status under review in a move that revives a weapon not used since the 1990s to hurt Russian trade. Without the designation the U.S. can impose special duties on global Russian exports that could be more painful than sanctions.
  • Putin has criticizes the U.S. and its allies for leaving Afghanistan in chaos and causing potential security threats for Russia and its allies in Central Asia. The Russian Embassy in Kabul remains open as Taliban fighters occupy the city.
  • As the U.S. withdraws its troops from Afghanistan, Biden says: “We’re engaged in a serious competition with China. We’re dealing with the challenges on multiple fronts with Russia. … And there’s nothing China or Russia would … want more in this competition than the United States to be bogged down another decade in Afghanistan.”
September 2021
  • The last piece of the Nord Stream 2 pipe is welded into place on Sept. 7. The operating company remains vague on the timing for the commencement of gas flow, saying only that it would start before the end of the year.
  • Leaders of the Russia- and China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization urge the world to unfreeze Afghanistan's assets and boost assistance to the war-torn nation. Putin speaks at an SCO summit of integration processes in Eurasia that advance the interests of the region’s countries, while China’s Xi Jinping said SCO nations should help a smooth transition in Afghanistan.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives agrees to add legislation to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2022 (NDAA-2022) that would place sanctions on Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The House also approves an amendment that would ban U.S. citizens from trading in newly issued Russian sovereign debt on both primary and secondary markets; its Rules Committee recommends the U.S. consider imposing sanctions against 35 Russian citizens, including government ministers and major businessmen.
  • Russia’s ruling United Russia party retains a two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, following elections criticized as neither free nor fair by Russia’s opposition and the West. Jailed activist Alexei Navalny accuses the Kremlin of stealing the elections and a group of Russian parliamentary candidates calls for protest rallies. A Russian analyst of election fraud estimates that actual support for United Russia was about 33%.
  • U.S. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, discusses with his Russian counterpart, Valery Gerasimov, Putin’s reported offer to use Russian military bases in Central Asia to respond to emerging terrorist threats in Afghanistan, according to U.S. officials cited by The Wall Street Journal. TASS cites a senior Russian diplomat as saying Moscow continues to consider U.S. military presence in ex-Soviet Central Asia inadmissible.
  • After the talks with Gerasimov, Milley says the U.S. should explore ways to expand its military contacts with the Russians, potentially to include allowing observers from each country to watch the other’s combat exercises, in a broad effort to increase transparency and reduce the risk of conflict.
  • NATO holds more exercises in the Black Sea.
  • U.S. and Russian teams led by the countries’ No. 2 diplomats, Wendy Sherman and Sergei Ryabkov, meet in Geneva on Sept. 30 for the second round of the bilateral dialogue on strategic stability. They agree to set up two working groups. (According to later reporting by Kommersant, the Biden administration initially proposed creating four working groups—on doctrines, space, nuclear weapons and new technologies—but the Russian negotiators opposed a rigid separation of certain issues, in particular space and missile defense.) The U.S. expresses concern over China’s nuclear build-up.
  • Russia’s Kommersant daily reports, citing unnamed sources, that U.S.-Russian cybersecurity cooperation over the past several months has led to “a blow … against” criminal hacker gangs Evil Corp., TrickBot and REvil. 
October 2021
  • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says Oct. 7 that NATO has decided to expel eight Russians accredited to the alliance in response to a surge in Moscow's "malign activities.” Earlier, Sky News alleged the activities included killings and espionage. Later this month, Russia suspends the work of NATO’s liaison office in Moscow and recalls its own representatives to the alliance.
  • A bipartisan group of U.S. senators urges Biden to increase staffing at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and to expel Russian diplomats from Washington if Moscow doesn’t cooperate.
  • U.S. and Russian diplomats fail to agree on embassy staffing and consular services during an Oct. 11-13 visit to Moscow by U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland; however, Nuland reportedly makes progress on near-future contacts between the countries’ presidents and on Ukraine, according to TASS, which quotes her as saying she and deputy head of the Kremlin administration Dmitry Kozak discussed a shared interest “in the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements.”
  • The New York Times reports that U.S. officials said they had begun passing intelligence to Russia in recent weeks about specific hackers believed to be a threat to U.S. companies, cities and infrastructure; the officials said their Russian counterparts have sounded cooperative, but had not yet made arrests.
  • recent poll from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs says the share of Americans who favor defending Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia if Russia were to invade increased from 44% in 2014 to 59% today.
  • Putin says that tensions surrounding Taiwan should be resolved through talks by the countries of the region without outside interference. "China does not need … the use of force. China … has emerged as the world’s top economy in terms of purchasing power parity, outpacing the United States," Russian news agencies quoted Putin as saying Oct. 13. He added in separate comments: “I … believe that President Xi Jinping is my friend.” 
  • The deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council says Russia has intelligence on “terrorists’ aspirations” to get information on the manufacture of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, “as well as their increased attention to the possible use of pathogenic biological agents and toxic chemicals.”
  • U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tells NATO counterparts that the U.S. wants "predictability and stability" in its relationship with Russia, while NATO’s secretary-general says Russia and China should not be seen as separate threats. Jens Stoltenberg also says NATO’s forthcoming plans to deter Russia include “significant improvements to our air and missile defenses,” as well as fifth-generation jets.
  • Building on two earlier “consensus reports” unexpectedly backed by both Washington and Moscow in March and July, Russia and the U.S. put forward a joint resolution to the U.N. General Assembly on responsible state behavior in cyberspace.
  • Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, gives a brief update on the U.S.-Russia cybersecurity talks announced after the Biden-Putin summit in June, calling them “direct and candid” and saying the dialogue had been used “to outline our expectations” and “to pass information regarding individual criminal activity.”
  • A State Department official tells The Washington Post that Moscow hasn’t yet “taken aggressive action against Russian-based hackers” and warns that “‘if they won’t act, we will.’”
  • On Oct. 20 Russia hosts the Taliban for talks in Moscow. The next day Putin says he thinks Biden “did the right thing by deciding to withdraw troops” from Afghanistan. He also says Afghanistan should receive economic support and hints that Russia may recognize the Taliban. TASS reports that such recognition would be conditional on its inclusivity and observance of human rights, citing senate Speaker Valentina Matviyenko.
  • Gallup releases polling data about global powers' leadership, saying that in 2020 Russia, for the first time, edged out both the U.S. and China, with a median approval rating of 34%. (China and the U.S. tied for last place at 30%.) 
  • Microsoft officials and cybersecurity experts warn that Russia’s military intelligence agency (SVR) has launched another cybersurveillance campaign targeting thousands of U.S. government, corporate and think-tank computer networks.
  • Interfax quotes Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov as saying it is “impossible” for Russia to stop Ukraine from joining NATO, but it is possible to minimize the ramifications of such steps for Russia. The next day Ukraine’s military announces it has destroyed a howitzer operated by pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east in its first combat deployment of a Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone.
  • A U.S. official warns that the U.S. Embassy in Moscow could stop performing most functions next year unless there is progress with Russia on increasing the number of visas for diplomats. He says the U.S. lacks staff for basic tasks such as opening and closing the embassy gates, ensuring secure telephone calls and operating the elevators. Washington has added Russians seeking U.S. visas to a list of “homeless nationals” who can apply for visas in third countries, sparking criticism from Moscow. 
  • Putin tells Gazprom to start pumping natural gas into European storage facilities once Russia finishes replenishing its own stocks, estimated to happen by Nov. 8. The Financial Times reports that the largest shortfalls in European gas storage are at sites owned or controlled by Gazprom; critics interpret this as a Russian attempt to squeeze European energy supplies.
  • Amos Hochstein, the U.S. State Department’s senior adviser for energy security, says “Russia did not create the natural gas crisis in Europe. … But there’s no doubt that Russia has not done what it could have done to mitigate it and to slow the price increase.”
  • Lavrov says he spoke briefly with Biden in Rome and the U.S. leader “stressed his commitment to further contacts.”
November 2021
  • Nikolai Patrushev, the powerful secretary of the Kremlin’s Security Council, meets with CIA Director William Burns in Moscow to discuss U.S.-Russian relations. The same day a Kremlin spokesman says there is “mutual interest” in another Putin-Biden meeting. Burns also holds talks in Moscow with Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) chief Sergei Naryshkin on bilateral cooperation in fighting international terrorism. It is later reported that during his visit Burns warned the Kremlin that the U.S. is watching its buildup of troops near Ukraine's border and that Russia will face “consequences” if it is responsible for the mysterious health incidents known as “Havana Syndrome.” Neuberger, the cybersecurity advisor, says Burns likewise discussed “the need for Russia to address malicious ransomware activity coming from within its borders.”
  • “We are entering into a tripolar world with the United States, Russia and China,” chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley says. “We’re going to have to put a premium … on maintaining great power peace.”
  • Russia joins over 100 countries in promising to end deforestation by 2030 at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. However, while 105 countries sign the Global Methane Pledge at the summit, Russia does not. Biden criticizes Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping for not attending the summit in person. A group of researchers from British universities say Russia could be left with almost $2 trillion in worthless hydrocarbon assets if major economies hit their net zero targets over the coming decades.
  • On Nov. 8 the Justice and Treasury departments announce several tough moves against alleged “affiliates” of the REvil ransomware gang believed to be behind the May JBS breach and other cyberattacks; actions include the arrest of a Ukrainian national suspected of involvement in the July ransomware attack against Kaseya and an indictment against Russian national Yevgeniy Polyanin and the seizure from him of more than $6 million. (Polyanin, 28, stands accused of taking part in ransomware attacks on multiple companies and government entities in Texas; the U.K.’s Daily Mail tabloid later reports that it had located Polyanin living lavishly in the Siberian city of Barnaul.) Biden says he was following through on a promise he made to Putin during their June summit.
  • Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba sign an update to a charter on a strategic partnership that says Washington supports Ukraine's "right to decide its own future foreign policy course free from outside interference, including with respect to Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO."
  • Tensions get worse between Russia and the West over a migrant crisis on the Belarus-Poland border, with Moscow sending bombers to patrol the area.
  • Putin calls U.S. and NATO activities in the Black Sea a "serious challenge" to Russia, specifically noting exercises involving a “powerful naval group” and strategic bombers.
  • Putin instructs his diplomats to maintain tensions with the West, “so that it does not occur to them to stage some kind of conflict on our western borders.”
  • Patrushev reportedly discusses Ukraine, cybersecurity and the migrant crisis on the Belarus-Poland border with U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan over the phone.
  • A makeshift migrant camp on Belarus' border with Poland has been cleared, Minsk says Nov. 18, as hundreds of Iraqis who failed to cross into the EU return home. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks with Putin on Nov. 19, taking credit for de-escalating the crisis.
  • The U.S. shares intelligence, including maps, with European allies showing a buildup of Russian troops and artillery poised for a rapid, large-scale push into Ukraine from multiple locations, possibly as soon as early next year. The Biden administration weighs sending military advisers and new equipment, including weaponry, to Ukraine.  
December 2021 (through Dec. 15)
  • Putin warns the West against crossing Moscow’s “red lines” in Ukraine. On Dec. 1 he calls for “legal guarantees” that NATO will not expand eastward; his aide Yuri Ushakov echoes this demand two days later. On Dec. 2, Lavrov says Moscow would soon put forward proposals for a new European security pact that would hopefully stop such expansion.
  • Biden and Putin hold a two-hour video conference Dec. 7. No formal agreements were on the table, “but the straightforward notion that the United States, flanked by our European allies and partners, would be prepared to talk to Russia about strategic issues in the European theater—that was on the table, and we are prepared to do that,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan says. Speaking the next day, Biden says he hopes to announce  a meeting soon between the U.S., its major allies in Europe and Russia for talks on Moscow's concerns about NATO expansion. 
  • During the call, Biden and Putin also discuss Iran, the U.S.-Russia dialogue on strategic stability, cybersecurity and constraints on each other’s diplomatic missions, but neither side’s readouts mention either Crimea or domestic politics in Russia. Putin tells Biden he would like to meet for more talks.
  • Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Dec. 10 issues a demand that NATO withdraw its 2008 pledge to admit Ukraine and Georgia to the alliance. 
  • AP reports that Biden administration officials have suggested that the U.S. will press Ukraine to formally cede a measure of autonomy within its eastern Donbas region; moreover, the agency says, senior U.S. State Department officials have told Ukraine that NATO membership is unlikely to be approved in the next decade.
  • Russia says it could be forced to deploy nuclear missiles in Europe as a reaction to what it perceives as NATO’s intentions to make similar moves.
January 2022
  • The Biden administration and its allies assemble a punishing set of sanctions they say would go into effect within hours of an invasion of Ukraine. According to multiple news sources, these include an expanded NATO military presence in Eastern Europe; arming would-be insurgents in Ukraine; cutting off Russia’s largest financial institutions from global transactions; and imposing an export control.
  • Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister and lead negotiator in talks with the U.S., NATO and the OSCE on Russia’s proposals for two treaties says on Jan. 13 that the talks have run into a “dead end.”  
  • Biden says Jan. 18 that he expected Putin would order an invasion of Ukraine and the U.S. response would depend on what Russia does.
  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says Jan. 18 that he is inviting Western allies and Russia to hold another set of security talks soon to “try to find a way forward to prevent any military attack against Ukraine.”
  • Top U.S. and Russian diplomats agree on Jan. 21 to keep diplomacy alive in their standoff over Ukraine.
  • China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi calls for abandoning Cold War mentality, warns the U.S. and its allies not to “hype up the crisis” around Ukraine and says that abiding by the Minsk II agreement would help resolve the conflict.
  • The Biden administration announces on Jan. 25 that it is working with gas and crude oil suppliers from the Middle East, North Africa and Asia to bolster supplies to Europe, trying to plan contingency measures if Russia invades Ukraine and disrupts supplies to Europe. 
  • Biden says that no U.S. or NATO troops will be sent into Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion.
  • Moscow asks Washington to return all American nuclear weapons from NATO countries to U.S. territory per one of the two treaties, which Russia has proposed to sign with U.S. and NATO.
  • Russia continues to mass forces on the Ukrainian border, with troops now surrounding large parts of the country.
  • Senior Ukrainian and Russian officials discuss lack of progress in implementing the Minsk-2 peace accord on Jan. 26.
  • Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says Jan. 28 his country would go to war if its key ally Russia was attacked.
  • Russia’s top diplomat insists on Jan. 28 that Russia will not start a war with Ukraine after Biden warns there is a “distinct possibility” it could invade in February.
February 2022
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says his country will never give special status to parts of Donbas that have been under the control of Moscow-backed separatists since April 2014.
  • President Xi Jinping of China and Putin meet in Beijing on Feb. 4 ahead of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, in a highly choreographed display of solidarity that presents a continuing challenge to the United States’ dominance on the world stage. The two leaders agree to pursue a partnership without limits.
  • Biden in an interview with NBC News on Feb. 10 warns Americans in Ukraine to leave immediately and reiterates that under no circumstances would he send U.S. troops to Ukraine, even to rescue Americans in case of a Russian invasion.
  • The long-stalled Minsk-2 agreement figured prominently on the agenda of the meeting between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and France’s Emmanuel Macron in Moscow.
  • Biden administration officials say they have a twin set of punitive measures “ready to go as soon as the first shots are fired” by Russia in Ukraine.
  • Ukraine’s armed forces are gearing up for military exercises in response to Russia’s troop buildup along its borders.
  • Russia on Feb. 17 says it will be “forced to respond” with military-technical measures if the United States does not agree to its security demands.
  • Antony Blinken, U.S. secretary of state, invites his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to meet in Europe to prepare a possible summit of pivotal leaders to resolve “mutual security concerns.” Late on Feb. 17, Ned Price, the U.S. state department’s spokesperson, says Russia has responded with possible dates for a meeting with Blinken, which the U.S. accepted, conditional on Russia not having invaded Ukraine.
  • Biden prepares to speak with NATO allies on Feb. 18 as U.S. officials say that as many as 190,000 Russian troops are arrayed in and near Ukraine, including Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, despite Moscow’s claims earlier that it was withdrawing forces.
  • Germany’s foreign minister suggests for the first time on Feb. 18 that military action by Moscow could mean the end of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
  • On Feb. 21, Putin says Russia should recognize the independence of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic, in an emotional address on state-run television, and on Feb. 22, Russian lawmakers gave Putin unanimous approval to deploy "peacekeepers" to two breakaway Ukrainian regions.
  • Russian forces invade Ukraine on Feb. 24 in a mass multi-pronged assault by land, sea and air from the north, east and south as Putin announces the launch of a “special military operation” there. In announcing the operation Putin makes clear his target goes beyond his neighbor to America’s “empire of lies,” and he threatens “consequences you have never faced in your history” for “anyone who tries to interfere with us.”
  • Ukraine reports columns of troops pouring across its borders from Russia and Belarus and landing on the coast from the Black and Azov seas. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky introduces martial law and urges people to remain calm in a brief video address on Feb. 24 morning. 
  • The Kremlin says on Feb. 24 that the length of  the “special military operation” in Ukraine depends on how it progresses on its aims, and that the assault should ideally cleanse the country of "Nazis" and "neutralize" Kyiv's military potential.
  • The Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, is under bombardment on Feb. 25 morning, with missile strikes and a rocket crashing into a residential building as the second day of Russia’s military offensive presses closer to the heart of the government.
  • Biden and his NATO counterparts agree on Feb. 25 to send thousands of troops backed by air and naval support to protect NATO allies near Russia and Ukraine in response to Putin’s decision to invade.
  • The Russian military is unable to seize control of Ukrainian airspace, a senior U.S. defense official says Feb. 25.
  • Putin on Feb. 25 calls on the Ukrainian army to overthrow the government whose leaders he describes as "terrorists" and "a gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis."
  • Ukraine says it will posthumously honor those Ukrainian border guards who were killed defending the tiny island of Zmeinyi in the Black Sea during a multi-pronged Russian invasion.
  • NATO leaders meeting in a virtual summit say they agree to make “significant additional defensive deployments of forces” to the east of the alliance. British and NATO troops must not play an active role in Ukraine, a U.K. defense minister says, to avoid “unnecessary” escalation of the conflict.
  • The Russian attack on Ukraine is prompting a flurry of activity among far-right European militia leaders, who are taking to the internet to raise funds, recruit fighters and plan travel to the front lines to confront the country’s invaders, according to a research group.
March 2022
  • In an unprecedented move, the usually slow-moving International Criminal Court is opening an immediate investigation of possible war crimes by Russia in Ukraine.
  • With more than 1 million refugees being driven out of Ukraine as Russian forces shell cities and accelerate their push to cut Ukraine off from its coastline, Russian and Ukrainian delegations agree on March 3 on a mechanism to allow “humanitarian corridors” to be created for the evacuation of civilians trapped in areas under Russian attack.  
  • Following a 90-minute phone call with Putin on March 3, French President Emmanuel Macron says he believes "the worst is to come" in Ukraine.
  • Russian forces in Ukraine seize the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on March 4.
  • The U.S. and Russian militaries establish a special line to communicate with one another through the crisis spawned by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Russia on March 4 passes a law imposing a jail term of up to 15 years for spreading intentionally "fake" news about the military.
  • Western sanctions imposed as a result of the invasion are battering Russia’s economy, leaving collateral damage among both global businesses and ordinary Russians. Allied foreign ministers meet on March 4 to assess the sanctions and to discuss their impact and potential further measures down the line.
  • The White House on March 4 says the U.S. economy is in a position strong enough that it could likely withstand the impact of a U.S. ban on the import of Russian oil.
  • A first-time $13.6 billion aid package for Ukraine is unveiled on March 9 by Congress, with “$3 billion in new weapons.” It is signed by Biden on March 15.
  • On March 10 Putin endorses a plan to nationalize foreign-owned businesses that flee Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
  • Russian forces launch multiple missile attacks on a wide range of targets across Ukraine in the early hours of March 11, including a first-time hit to the central city of Dnipro.
  • Russian officials accuse the U.S. of funding biowarfare efforts in Ukraine. Biden says on March 11 that Russia “will pay a severe price” if it uses chemical weapons.
  • Putin seethes against pro-Western Russians on March 16, calling them “scum and traitors” who need to be removed from society as “slave-like” stooges whom the West wants to use as a "fifth column" to destroy Russia.
  • Putin says that the goal of the “special military operation” in Ukraine is to “rid people of genocide.”
  • U.S. media reports that Russia has asked China for military and economic aid for its war in Ukraine. The White House warns that Beijing would face severe “consequences” if it helps Moscow evade sanctions.
  • At least three senior Russian officials reiterate Moscow’s position, enshrined in its strategic documents, that nuclear weapons use would be an option if the Russian leadership believed the country’s survival was at risk.
  • Putin says on March 23 that Russia will seek payment in rubles for gas sold to "unfriendly" countries, driving up European gas prices by more than 30%.
  • More than a quarter of a million Russians have left their country, by some estimates, since the invasion of Ukraine.
  • Putin tells his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, that shelling of the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol will only end when Ukrainian troops surrender.
  • On March 29 Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, commander of U.S. European Command, reveals that Russian troops have begun retreating from positions around the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv as a part of a “major strategy shift.” As part of the retreat, Russian forces transfer control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant back to Ukrainian authorities, but plant workers say the departing troops also take more than 100 Ukrainian national guardsmen as prisoners of war. The retreat is evidence that the Kremlin’s plan for a rapid seizure of most of Ukraine east of the Dnieper river and of Kyiv have failed.
April 2022
  • Russian forces complete their withdrawal from the Kyiv area, retaining 80 of about 130 battalion tactical groups originally deployed to Ukraine, a U.S. official says on April 6. On April 7, Zelensky warns that Russian forces "are preparing to resume an active offensive" in eastern Ukraine.
  • At least 39 people are killed and 87 wounded in a missile strike on April 8 on a railway station in Kramatorsk that was packed with women, children and elderly trying to flee fighting, Ukrainian authorities say.
  • The mayor of Bucha says on April 8 that the authorities in the town have so far collected the bodies of about 320 people killed during weeks of occupation by Russia’s army. Ukraine’s prosecutor-general says 410 bodies of civilians have been recovered from the Kyiv region.
  • The U.S. Congress votes to remove favorable trade status for goods from Russia.
  • The U.S. and U.K. decide to sanction the daughters of Putin and Lavrov.
  • The Pew Research Center finds the number of Americans who say Russia is an enemy has surged from 41% in January 2022 to 70% in late March 2022.
  • Kazakhstan authorities say they will not help Russia to evade Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
  • The latest $800 million package to Ukraine from the U.S. will include armored vehicles as well as laser-guided rocket systems and drones. Additionally, the Pentagon is resuming direct training of the Ukrainian military, as will British troops. 
  • The missile cruiser Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, sinks on April 14 after being hit by Ukrainian missiles. The Moskva is the biggest warship by tonnage to sink during a conflict since World War II. About 40 men are reportedly killed and another 100 injured.
  • Russia considers “U.S./NATO weapons transports” to be “legitimate military targets” once they are inside Ukraine.
  • Senior Kremlin insiders say they increasingly share the fear voiced by U.S. officials that Putin could turn to the limited use of nuclear weapons if faced with failure in Ukraine. Lavrov refuses to give an unequivocal answer when asked on April 19 whether Russia would resort to the use of tactical nukes in Ukraine.
  • The White House details a plan to accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.
  • Biden warns on April 28 that ''No one should be making idle comments about the use of nuclear weapons or the possibility that they could use that.” ''It's irresponsible,” Biden says after Putin asserts that “if someone decides to intervene in the ongoing events [in Ukraine] from the outside and create strategic threats to Russia that are unacceptable to us ... our retaliatory-offensive strikes will be lightning fast. ”Putin appears to be losing interest in diplomatic efforts to end his war and instead appears set on seizing as much Ukrainian territory as possible. Putin’s top aide Patrushev foresees the “disintegration of Ukraine into several states.”
May 2022
  • An AP investigation of a Russian strike on a Mariupol theater estimates that about 600 civilians, who were seeking shelter in the building, may have been killed in the strike on March 16.
  • March 2022’s U.S. export volume to Russia is the lowest in the history of U.S.-Russian trade since monthly data became available in 2002.
  • After Russia’s near-total conquest of the Azov sea port of Mariupol, Russian officials appear to be laying the groundwork for annexing swaths of southeast Ukraine.
  • In a highly unusual move, former Chinese ambassador to Ukraine Gao Yusheng speaks against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to Gao, the odds are stacked so heavily against Putin that “it’s only a matter of time before Russia is fully defeated.”
  • Sweden and Finland apply for NATO membership on May 18. Biden calls Sweden and Finland's applications for NATO membership "a watershed moment in European security.” Putin says “there is no direct threat for Russia” from NATO’s expansion into Finland and Sweden, but warns that Moscow would respond if they deployed new military hardware there.
  • Putin tells Italy’s Draghi he is ready to make a "significant contribution" to averting a looming food crisis — which the West partially blames on Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports — if the West lifts sanctions imposed on Russia.
  • Sources close to the Kremlin ay Kremlin officials are hopeful again that Moscow could “bring the war in Ukraine to victory” this fall.
  • The Biden administration’s China policy aims to lead the countries now jointly opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine into a broader coalition to counter what Washington sees as a more serious threat posed by Beijing.
  • EU leaders reach a landmark political agreement to ban 90% of the bloc’s sea-borne Russian oil imports by year’s end.
  • Biden lays out his Ukraine strategy. While promising more advanced weaponry, Biden reiterates that the U.S. would not put troops on the ground in Ukraine, will not try to bring about Putin’s ouster, and is “not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders. We do not want to prolong the war just to inflict pain on Russia,” Biden writes.
June 2022
  • June 3 marks the 100th day of fighting in Ukraine. Zelensky says Russian forces now control 20% of his country.
  • A flurry of diplomatic activity is focusing on getting much-needed stocks of Ukrainian and Russian grain and fertilizers to market, with Putin meeting the leader of the African Union, U.N. officials holding "constructive discussions" in Moscow and offering “comfort letters” to shipping and insurance companies and Russia’s foreign minister heading to Turkey for talks.
  • Prosecutors investigating war crimes cases in Ukraine are examining allegations of the forcible deportation of children to Russia as they seek to build a genocide indictment.
  • Putin says on June 9 that it is his “destiny” to “return and fortify” territories, much like it had been for Peter I.
  • Russia’s recent advances in the Donbas are making it “very, very difficult” for Ukraine to win the war, says Zelensky’s key advisor Danilov. The central problem for Ukrainians fighting in the Donbas is a mismatch of artillery capabilities.
  • Biden announces $1 billion worth of new arms for Ukraine on June 15 as Ukraine’s hunt for weapons in the global arms market faces increasing competition from Russia.
  • Xi tells Putin in a call on June 15 that Beijing would keep backing Moscow on "sovereignty and security.” Xi also stresses that China has always made independent judgments based on the historical merits of the Ukrainian issue. The Kremlin’s account of the call says Xi “noted the legitimacy of the actions taken by Russia to protect the fundamental national interests in the face of challenges to its security created by external forces.”
  • Ukrainian forces retreat from the strategic hub of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine in the face of a brutal Russian offensive.
  • Peskov says on June 24 that Russia hopes Ukraine and Moldova’s ties with Moscow will not worsen after the European Union granted the two countries candidate status for EU membership. In contrast, Lavrov says the EU and NATO are gathering a coalition for war with Moscow.
  • Xi and Putin take turns virtually attending the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) and BRICS summit in Beijing, respectively. “Cooperation between China and Russia is currently ascending in all spheres,” Xi tells the conference. In his turn, Putin tells the BRICS summit that “the world needs the BRICS countries’ leadership in defining a unifying and positive course for forming a truly multipolar system of interstate relations.” 
  • Putin says on June 25 that Russia will deliver missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to Belarus in the coming months. 
  • Putin vows that Russia would “undoubtedly” achieve its goals in Ukraine. He also asserts that the West’s “economic blitzkrieg” against Russia was failing as the ruble traded at its strongest level against the U.S. dollar since June 2015.
  • Leaders of the Group of Seven condemn Russia for the "abominable" attack on a mall in the city of Kremenchuk in central Ukraine, calling it a "war crime.”
  • White House officials are losing confidence that Ukraine will ever be able to take back all of the land it has lost to Russia over the past four months of war.
  • Asked on June 29 whether “the goals of the special operation [had] changed,” Putin says:  “Nothing has changed, of course … I have formulated the overall goal, which is to liberate Donbas, protect its people and create conditions that will guarantee the security of Russia itself. That is all. We are working calmly and steadily… We are not speaking about any deadlines.”
  • G-7 leaders fail to agree on new sanctions against Russia at their summit due to diverging opinions but plan to discuss new measures—ranging from a price cap on Russian oil purchases to a gold embargo
  • NATO declares Russia the "most significant and direct threat” to its members’ peace and security in its new strategic concept adopted at a summit in Madrid. The concept also defines China as “a challenge” to the alliance’s security.
July 2022
  • Putin challenges Western countries on July 7  “to defeat us on the battlefield,” warning that “we have not started anything in earnest yet.” A day earlier Dmitry Medvedev invoked the possibility of nuclear war if the International Criminal Court punished Moscow for Ukraine, while speaker of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin threatened to somehow take Alaska from the U.S.
  • Blinken refuses to meet Lavrov on the sidelines of a meeting of G-20 foreign ministers in Indonesia on July 8, criticizing Russia for blocking Ukrainian grain exports. In his turn, Russia’s top diplomat walks out twice in the course of the meeting’s sessions as his German and Ukrainian counterparts prepared to criticize Russia’s conduct in Ukraine.
  • Lavrov proclaims an expansion of Russia’s territorial ambitions in Ukraine, stating that "now, the geography is different. And it is not only [the Donbas] but also the Kherson region, the Zaporizhzhia region and a number of other territories, and the process continues, and it continues consequently and persistently."
  • Moscow and Kyiv clinch a grain exports deal on July 22 with Turkey and the U.N. clearing the way for exporting millions of tons of desperately needed Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea—as well as Russian grain and fertilizer.
  • Iran signs an agreement on July 27 to supply spare parts for Russian civil aircraft.
  • Blinken and Lavrov hold their first conversation since Russia's invasion of Ukraine on July 29. Blinken tells Lavrov "the world expects Russia to fulfill its commitments” per the U.N.-brokered agreement on exports of Ukrainian grain. Lavrov confirms he discussed the grain deal with Blinken and criticizes the U.S. for supplying arms to Ukraine.
  • Russia is in lockstep with China on Taiwan as Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov expresses solidarity after Xi warns Biden not to "play with fire" over the self-ruled island.
August 2022
  • Putin proclaims in his written address to the NPT review conference that he “believe[s] that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, and we stand for equal and indivisible security for all members of the world community.”
  • Russian government officials use an existing FSB backchannel to tell their U.S. counterparts that they want FSB Col. Vadim Krasikov to be included in Washington's proposed swap of Viktor Bout for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.
  • Putin wants to resume peace talks with Ukraine, according to his friend and ex-German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who believes negotiations can succeed through a compromise for Donbas based on a "Swiss canton model” and “armed neutrality” for Ukraine as an alternative to NATO membership.
  • Moscow sides with Beijing over U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan following Lavrov’s meeting with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on Aug. 3 in which he calls his Chinese counterpart a “dear friend” and tells him he is “convinced that our strategic partnership is one of the pillars of the movement for the triumph of international law.”
  • The U.S. commits to the largest military aid package to Ukraine to date on Aug. 8, in which Washington will send $1 billion in additional military aid to Kyiv, including ammunition for HIMARS and anti-armor systems.
  • Russia sees no prospects for a diplomatic solution yet, in the view of Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s permanent representative to the U.N. in Geneva. Both sides are so dug in that “there are no prospects for peace at all—only a ceasefire,” a person close to the Kremlin states.
  • Gorbachev dies aged 91. As Western leaders praise his implementation of democratic reforms in the USSR, Russians react with criticism expressed alongside tributes, reflecting his polarizing legacy within Russia.
September 2022
  • Both of the Zaporizhzhia NPP’s operational rectors are temporarily cut off from Ukraine’s power grid on Aug. 25. As a result, IAEA inspectors arrive at the nuclear power plant on Sept. 1 to conduct an impartial assessment of the situation and to monitor developments on a permanent basis.
  • G-7 countries agree to introduce a price cap on purchases of Russian oil as Gazprom extends Nord Stream 1 shutdown. 
  • Blinken makes a surprise visit to Kyiv on Sept. 8 to meet Zelensky and announces an additional $675 million in weapons for Ukraine.
  • Kyiv abandons the idea of committing to not pursue NATO membership and now wants only its Western partners to become Ukraine’s security guarantors.
  • Putin acknowledges Xi’s concerns over his war in Ukraine during their meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan on Sept. 15. Xi also thanks Putin and calls him an “old friend” and notes that he wants Russia to join China in “inject[ing] stability and positive energy” into the world. India’s Modi also weighs in on the subject, telling Putin “I know today's time is not a time for war" and stresses the importance of "democracy and diplomacy and dialogue.”
  • Putin orders “partial” mobilization in his Sept. 21 address to the nation and endorses annexation of parts of Ukraine all while brandishing his nuclear saber. 
  • Russia and Ukraine agree to one of the largest exchanges of prisoners of war in the seven-month conflict. Putin's ally Viktor Medvedchuk and 55 servicemen are handed over to Russia in exchange for 215 Ukrainian POWs, including officers of a Ukrainian far-right unit, the Azov regiment.
  • The Biden administration announces $1 billion more in military aid to Ukraine, but support in Congress for continued aid may be waning as Republicans in the House question whether the money would be better spent combating China.
  • Putin signs off on accession treaties on Sept. 30 laying a formal claim to the territories of Ukraine’s Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.
October 2022
  • Recent Ukrainian advances leave Russia unsure of which parts of the newly-annexed regions of Ukraine to claim as its own as criticism of war management mounts. Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, says that any decision on how much territory in Ukraine’s Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions to annex requires further consultation with the local population.
  • OPEC+ defies U.S. pressure, siding with Russia on oil production cuts.
  • Russia seeks continued cooperation with the U.S. in manned space exploration, with Russia’s space agency saying on Oct. 4 it is seeking to continue its participation in the multi-nation International Space Station beyond 2024.
  • “Ask Biden,” Putin says when asked if he is ready to negotiate with the U.S. leader at the G20. “I do not see the need, to be honest, there is still no platform for any kind of negotiations” with the U.S. president, Putin says on the sidelines of a CICA summit in Kazakhstan. At the same time, “we have always said that we are open” for negotiations with Ukraine on ending the war, Putin says. A day prior to Putin’s Oct. 14 remarks, Zelensky—who plans to attend the Nov. 15-16 G-20 summit in Indonesia, says “there cannot be diplomacy” with Putin.  
  • Biden’s new National Security Strategy points to the alignment of China and Russia and expresses support for Ukraine’s EU aspirations, but keeps mum on prospects of its NATO membership.
  •  Iranian drones leave Ukraine without power as millions of Ukrainians across the country face shortages of electricity, water and heat—and the prospect of a desolate winter without basic services.
  • Putin imposes martial law on Oct. 19 in four illegally annexed regions of Ukraine and less severe restrictions across Russia amid mobilization backlash.
  • “We are in for probably the most dangerous, unpredictable and at the same time most important decade since the end of WWII,” Putin tells the annual Valdai Forum on Oct. 28. “This historical period of boundless Western domination in world affairs is coming to an end. The unipolar world is being relegated into the past. We are at a historical crossroads,” the Russian leader says when explaining what factors make the current decade so dangerous in his view.
  • China seeks to deepen its relationship with Russia at all levels and any attempt to block the progress of the two nations will never succeed, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi declares in a phone conversation with Lavrov. In his turn, Lavrov "expresses gratitude to the Chinese side for supporting Russia's position in favor of a fair settlement."
November 2022
  • Russia cannibalizes parts from Western household appliances for military purposes, and it may be one reason why Armenia imported more washing machines from the EU during the first eight months of this year than in the past two years combined, while Kazakhstan imported three times as many European refrigerators through August as in the same period last year.
  • Russia announces on Nov. 2 that it is resuming its participation in the Ukraine grain deal as Erdoğan credits his personal rapport with Putin for Russia’s quick return to the U.N.-backed pact. 
  • China expresses concerns over Russia’s conduct in Ukraine, warning against the use of nuclear weapons. The international community should “oppose the use of or the threat to use nuclear weapons, advocate that nuclear weapons cannot be used and that nuclear wars must not be fought and prevent a nuclear crisis in Eurasia,” Xi says during his Nov. 4 talks with Scholz.
  • Russia announces on Nov. 9 that it is withdrawing its forces to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region, abandoning the city of Kherson.
  • The G-20 summit, which Biden and Xi are attending, but which Putin is choosing to skip, adopts a declaration on Nov. 16 that states: “the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.” That the Kremlin published a translation of the declaration on its website, as did the Foreign Ministry, indicates that Putin—who sent Lavrov to the G-20 on his behalf—concedes to the declaration’s language, including the proposition that threats of use of nuclear weapons are unacceptable.
  • Russian missile attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure reach an unprecedented intensity on Nov. 15 and 17, leaving 10 million Ukrainians without power.
  • Iran agrees to set up production of its military drones in Russia. The agreement was reached earlier in Nov., according to Western security agencies, which believe Russia has already procured and deployed more than 400 Iranian-made attack drones against Ukraine since August. 
December 2022
  • China calls for peace in Ukraine after Chinese and Russian bombers conduct patrols over the Sea of Japan. Solving the Ukraine crisis through political means is in the best interest of Europe and the common interest of all countries in Eurasia, Xi tells EC President Charles Michel on Dec. 1.
  • EU governments agree on Dec. 2 on a price cap on Russian seaborne oil, but it is well above Russia’s cost of production.
  • Vladimir Putin chooses a video session of his human rights council on Dec. 7 to admit that the war could be a “long process.” Second, he touts territories seized from Ukraine as a “significant result for Russia.” Last but not least, the Russian leader tones down his nuclear rhetoric. Not only does he choose not to repeat his recent threats to use nuclear weapons to reverse Ukraine’s gains in recapturing its land, but he also explicitly pledges to avoid “brandish[ing] these weapons like a razor.”
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says there will be no more “blank check[s]” when it comes to aiding Ukraine. “I want to make sure whatever funding we spend goes to the right places,” McCarthy asserts.
  • Russia scraps New START consultations with the U.S., signaling an unwillingness to compartmentalize relations.
  • Biden welcomes Zelensky in the U.S. on Dec. 21 and announces a $1.8 billion package of military aid, including Patriots.
  • Xi tells Medvedev he is hoping for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine and is willing to mediate. Xi hosts Medvedev in Beijing on Dec. 21, reportedly telling the deputy chairman of Putin’s Security Council that China is willing to play a role to mediate an end to the war in Ukraine. “China hopes relevant parties can stay rational and restrained, conduct comprehensive talks and resolve mutual concerns on security via political methods,” Xi says.  In his response, Medvedev says the Ukraine crisis “has its causes and is very complex,” and that Russia is willing to resolve the problems it faces through peace talks.
  • Putin tells Israeli PM Bennett that the Ukrainians were tougher “than I was told.” “This will probably be much more difficult than we thought. … [But] we are a big country and we have patience,” Putin tells Bennett.
  • Ukraine’s deadly strike in Makiivka on Dec. 31 highlights enduring command failures on the Russian side, with more than 400 Russian soldiers killed.
  • Between the launch of the invasion and the end of December, 17,831 civilian casualties (including 6,884 deaths and 10,947 injuries) have been recorded by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The office noted, however, that the actual casualty figures were likely far higher due to data-gathering hurdles posed by ongoing hostilities and insufficient corroborating evidence.
January 2023
  • Putin orders his forces on Jan. 5 to stop fighting in Ukraine for 36 hours. However, residents in the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut said the sounds of fighting continued during the period.
  • The U.S. on Jan. 6 announces a major military assistance package for Ukraine valued at $3.75 billion, which includes 50 Bradleys with 500 TOW anti-tank missiles and dozens of other armored vehicles.
  • Russia replaces Gen. Sergei Surovikin after barely three months as head of its Ukraine campaign following a succession of battlefield setbacks and failure to turn the war in Moscow’s favor. His replacement is Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov, who has thus become the fourth Russian general to command Russia’s military operations in Ukraine.
  • Russia and Ukraine agree on an exchange of 40 prisoners of war each, Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova says on Jan. 11 after meeting her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Lubinets in Turkey.
  • Deputy US Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, Jon Finer, the principal deputy national security adviser, and Colin H. Kahl, the under-secretary of defense for policy, travel to Kyiv to meet with Zelensky on Jan. 16. During the meetings, the leaders talked about how international assistance "has helped stabilize Ukraine's economy," as well as how the U.S. and Ukraine could continue to have an economic and trade relationship when the war is over.
  • On Jan. 19, the U.S. announces a major new package of aid for Ukraine. The $2.5 billion package includes 100 Stryker combat vehicles and at least 50 more Bradley infantry fighting vehicles.  
  • Medvedev claims that Russia’s loss in Ukraine may lead to a nuclear war. "The defeat of a nuclear power in a conventional war may trigger a nuclear war," the deputy chairman of Putin’s Security Council writes in reference to the Jan. 20 meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meant to provide more military aid to Kyiv. Putin’s spokesman Peskov claimed Medvedev’s statement was “in full compliance with our nuclear doctrine.”
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov welcomes South Africa’s “independent and balanced” stance on the war in Ukraine while on his latest diplomatic mission to Africa. The two nations sign a new cooperation agreement, but didn’t provide any details.
  • Zelensky signs off on the ouster of at least 10 senior officials over alleged graft, misconduct and other excesses. Referring to these dismissals, U.S. Sen. Merkley warns at Senate hearings this week that corruption within Ukraine’s government could be “a kind of cancer eating away at support that they need from everyone in the world.”
  • Having previously refused to supply main battle tanks, the Biden administration reverses its stance this week with President Joe Biden announcing the U.S. will send 31 of its M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, without giving details of the timing.
  • The U.S. Treasury formally designates Russia’s Wagner Group as a “significant transnational criminal organization.”  
  • Over 66,000 additional alleged war crimes have been reported to Ukrainian authorities since the Russian invasion last February, according to Ukraine's Office of the Prosecutor General.
February 2023
  • Two U.S. officials say the U.S. is preparing to offer Kyiv a $2.2 billion military aid package which is expected to include longer-range rockets for the first time. The new smart weapon is a Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb, or GLSDB, a precision-guided 250-pound bomb that is strapped to a rocket.
  • The United States accuses Russia of not complying with its obligations under the New START treaty. The State Department said Russia is refusing to facilitate inspections on its territory as required under the treaty. Russia denies U.S. accusations that it is violating the New START treaty.
  • Since the beginning of the war, the regions of Russia neighboring Ukraine have been shelled at least 350 times by Ukrainian forces, according to Novaya Gazeta. As a result of the shelling, 168 civilians were injured and 36 of them died.
  • The United States imposes Russia-related sanctions on 22 individuals and entities in multiple countries that the U.S. Treasury Department says are part of a global network set up to evade previously announced sanctions targeting Russia’s defense industry.
  • Ukrainian officials announce high-profile searches, firings and investigations on Feb. 1 just ahead of an EU summit, in what appears to be the second round in Zelensky's ongoing campaign to crack down on the corruption that could undermine support for his country.
  • Ukrainian officials disclose that they require coordinates provided or confirmed by the U.S. and its allies for the vast majority of strikes using U.S.-provided rocket systems. The disclosure is probably meant to alleviate U.S. concerns that supplies of longer-range attack systems could fuel escalation.
  • Russian customs data indicates that China is providing technology that Russia’s military needs to wage the war in Ukraine. The U.S. also suspects Turkey is supplying Russia with military support. Both Beijing and Ankara have denied such accusations in the past.
  • Moscow and Tehran are moving ahead with plans to build a new factory in the Russian town of Yelabuga, about 600 miles east of Moscow, that could make at least 6,000 Iranian-designed drones for the war in Ukraine, said officials from a country aligned with the U.S. Tehran has rejected the claim.
  • Russia and Ukraine on Feb. 4 announce an exchange of prisoners that led to the release of 63 Russians and 116 Ukrainians and the return of the bodies of Chris Parry and Andrew Bagshaw, who were foreign volunteers involved in humanitarian work in the Donetsk region.
  • Ukraine will receive ground-launched, small-diameter bombs (GLSDB) as part of a new $2.17 billion aid package announced by the Biden administration.
  • Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says that before the Russian-Ukrainian talks were interrupted in May 2022, the parties had prepared 17 drafts of a peace agreement. According to Bennett, during his mediation efforts Zelensky agreed to give up the idea that Ukraine would join NATO, and Putin dropped a vow to seek Ukraine’s disarmament in order to end the war. “Everything I did was coordinated with the U.S., Germany and France,” he said.
  • In his State of the Union address, U.S. President Joe Biden says Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was a test that the U.S. and its NATO allies had passed, and vowed again to stand with Zelensky as long as needed.
  • Europe on Feb. 5 imposes a ban on Russian diesel fuel and other refined oil products, slashing energy dependency on Moscow and seeking to further crimp the Kremlin's fossil-fuel earnings as punishment for invading Ukraine. The ban comes along with a price cap agreed by the G7 democracies.
  • France and the United States demand the "immediate" reopening of the key Lachin corridor to Nagorno-Karabakh, calling it unacceptable. French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and her U.S. counterpart Antony Blinken in a telephone call Feb. 9 "stressed the need to immediately re-establish free circulation along the Lachin corridor," the French Foreign Ministry said. "The grave humanitarian consequences of the current blockading of Nagorno-Karabakh are unacceptable," it added.
  • Russia has placed at least 6,000 Ukrainian children in camps where they’re subjected to Russian propaganda and forcible adoption by Russian families, with some even undergoing military training, a U.S. government-backed report from Yale University found.
  • U.S. and European security officials say Russia’s spy agencies have sustained greater damage over the past year than at any time since the end of the Cold War.
  • The United States tells its citizens to leave Russia immediately due to the war in Ukraine and the risk of arbitrary arrest or harassment by Russian law enforcement agencies.
  • Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko meets with Putin in Moscow on Feb. 17, after having told journalists Belarus would join Russia in its fight against Ukraine, but “only if someone—even a single soldier—enters our territory from there with weapons to kill my people,” he said in response to a question from the BBC, referring to Ukraine.
  • US Vice President Harris tells the MSC: “Any steps by China to provide lethal support to Russia would only reward aggression, continue the killing and further undermine a rules-based order.” During their meeting at the MSC, Blinken warns Wang against helping Russia evade sanctions. Then Blinken told a Ukraine-focused panel at the MSC after meeting Wang, "We've made clear to our Chinese counterparts … that we would view any provision of military assistance or evading sanctions as a very serious problem."
  • Biden makes a surprise visit to Kyiv on Feb. 20, announcing $500 million in new military aid. “He thought he could outlast us. I don’t think he’s thinking that right now,” Biden said of Putin while in Kyiv. The trip to Ukraine is the first by an American president in nearly 15 years.
  • In his address to the parliament on Feb. 21, Putin says Russia will suspend its participation in New START and ordered his government agencies to be ready to conduct a nuclear test in case the U.S. carries out one.
  • A previously unreported Kremlin strategy document purports to lay out in detail Russia’s plans to absorb neighboring Belarus by 2030, U.S. and European media reported Feb. 21.
  • Blinken speaks of Washington’s “deep concern” that Moscow was working to destabilize Moldova and overthrow the government of the eastern European nation.  
  • China’s Foreign Ministry on Feb. 24 unveils “China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis.” The very first of the plan’s 12 points declares, in a clear acknowledgement of the Ukrainian state’s fundamental rights, that the “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries must be effectively upheld.” In a nod to Moscow, the 12-point papers avoid describing the war as a war and opposes “unilateral sanctions.” At the same time, the paper asserts that the “threat or use of nuclear weapons should be opposed” in a thinly veiled reprimand of the Russian leadership’s regular rattling of the nuclear saber since the beginning of the invasion on Feb. 24, 2022.
  • IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi says, "The nuclear safety and security situation at the Zaporizhzhia NPP continues to be fragile and potentially dangerous,” as the IAEA published a report that details the events since Russian military action began.
  • The U.S. formally concludes that Russia has committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine, Vice President Harris tells the Munich Security Conference, vowing that those who had perpetrated crimes and their superiors “will be held to account.”
  • The Pentagon announces another $2 billion in long-term military support for Ukraine.
  • As Ukraine marks the first anniversary of the invasion, the U.K. and U.S. announce new measures against hundreds of groups and individuals including Russian banks and defense companies, while the EU is preparing its own sanctions hitting Moscow’s war economy.
  • The World Bank announces a further $2.5 billion grant financing to Ukraine on the anniversary of Russia’s invasion. In a statement, the World Bank said the money would support a range of social functions in the war-torn country, including healthcare, education and pensions.
  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Yellen makes an unannounced trip to Ukraine Feb. 27 to announce disbursement of a total $10 billion pledged by the Biden administration.
  • The U.S. is closely monitoring Russia’s efforts to evade sanctions via Central Asia, Blinken says on Feb. 28 in Kazakhstan. Blinken's visit to Kazakhstan was the first by a Biden administration cabinet official to any Central Asian nation.
March 2023
  • Turkey stops the transit of sanctioned goods to Russia this month as the European Union and the U.S. pressure allies to support measures imposed over Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • In the year since Russia invaded Ukraine, at least 8,000 civilians have been killed—with nearly 13,300 injured—the United Nations says.
  • At the meeting of G-20 foreign ministers, Russia’s Sergei Lavrov and China’s Qin Gang refuse to endorse two paragraphs of language on the Ukraine war even though these paragraphs repeated, ad verbatim, the declaration that G-20 leaders, including Xi Jinping and Lavrov, agreed upon during their summit in November.
  • U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland makes an unannounced visit to Ukraine along with top prosecutors from several European nations to discuss criminal investigations regarding Russia’s actions during the war.
  • The U.S. unveils a new $400 million package of arms for Ukraine on March 3.  The aid includes Armored Vehicle Launched Bridges for the first time. GMLRS and HIMARS are also part of that package, as is ammunition for IFVs and howitzers.
  • The U.S. launches a renewed crackdown on countries and individuals helping the Kremlin evade Western sanctions by funneling imports through countries such as the UAE and Turkey. (03.03.23)
  • Blinken and Lavrov speak for about 10 minutes on the sidelines of a meeting of G-20 foreign ministers in New Delhi on March 2. This was the first time since the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.
  • Russia carries out one of its largest strikes on Ukraine, with 81 missiles and 8 drones fired at 10 of Ukraine's 27 regions on March 9.
  • Biden’s FY2024 budget request includes $6 billion in support for Ukraine. In addition, the budget requests $753 million for Ukraine. Biden's national security request includes an additional $7 billion for military support for Ukraine and $23.6 billion for the Energy Department as part of the modernization of nuclear weapons.
  • New intelligence reviewed by U.S. officials suggests that a pro-Ukrainian group carried out the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines last year.
  • The U.S. Defense Secretary warns of “unthinkable” military ties developing between Russia and Iran, as he sought to reassure regional allies that Washington remained committed to the Middle East “for the long haul.”
  • The U.S. accuses Russia of bringing down a surveillance drone that has been patrolling above international waters in the Black Sea.
  • The U.S. begins an aggressive new push to inflict pain on Russia’s economy and specifically its oligarchs.
  • The International Criminal Court on March 17 issues an arrest warrant for Putin over the alleged deportations of Ukrainian children.
  • In Russia, Xi Jinping reaffirms Beijing’s desire to strengthen its “undeclared alliance” with Moscow.
  • Russia becomes the largest foreign investor in Iran over the past year. Ehsan Khandouzi, Iran’s finance minister, said Russia had invested $2.76 billion in the country during the current financial year that ended this week, accounting for two-thirds of the total foreign direct investment of about $4.2 billion.
  • The IMF strikes a deal with Ukraine to provide a $15.6 billion loan.
  • Russia’s new foreign policy concept declares “an era of revolutionary change” in the world order, but leaves the door open to normalizing relations with the West.
  • In his March 25 interview, Putin announces that Russia plans to deploy NSNWs in Belarus, with storage for the warheads, which are designed to be carried by either surface- or air- launched missiles, to be completed by July 2023.
  • Russia’s security service detains WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich in the Russian city of Ekaterinburg on suspicion of spying, in its first arrest of a foreign journalist since Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
April 2023
  • The Biden administration pledges on April 4 to commit an additional $2.6 billion in military aid to Ukraine, saying it will provide air defense systems that include gun trucks and laser-guided weapons to counter Russia's relentless use of drones.
  • NATO foreign ministers on April 4 agree to develop a multi-year initiative to help ensure Ukraine’s deterrence and defense, make the transition from Soviet-era equipment and doctrines to NATO standards, and increase interoperability with NATO.
  • The Kremlin on April 5 says it did not want to comment on the indictment of former U.S. President Donald Trump, accused of making payments to cover up embarrassing deals ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
  • Dozens of top-secret U.S. intelligence assessments are leaked online, painting a significantly grimmer picture of Ukraine’s fighting chances than one would typically find on the editorial pages of America’s leading newspapers. 
  • The United States imposes sanctions on over 120 targets to squeeze Russia for its war in Ukraine in a sign of stepped-up enforcement.
  • NATO’s frontier states, such as Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, say they are no longer willing to put up with risk of even a temporary Russian occupation, given the alleged atrocities committed by the Russian forces in areas they occupied in Ukraine. 
  • The United States is sending Ukraine about $325 million in additional military aid, including an enormous amount of artillery rounds and ammunition, according to the Pentagon. The aid resembles other recent weapons packages that sent Ukraine rockets for howitzers and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
  • In his first conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky since Russia’s invasions, Xi Jinping tells the Ukrainian leader that China will not "add fuel to the flame” of the conflict and promised he’d send a special envoy to seek a “political resolution of the Ukraine crisis and conduct deep dialogue with all parties.”
  • Putin signs a decree April 25 authorizing "temporary" state control over foreign companies’ Russia-based assets. The move marks Russia’s latest retaliation to the freezing of its assets abroad over the invasion of Ukraine.
  • Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov says that it is up to voters in the United States to evaluate Joe Biden's statement that he will seek a second term as U.S. president. Russia doesn’t meddle in the affairs of other countries, Foreign Minister Lavrov says April 25, when asked to comment on Biden’s decision to run for a second term as president.
  • The number of Russian corporate legal entities owned by companies and individuals from the EU, U.K., U.S. and other "unfriendly states" (with the exception of Cyprus) decreases by 2,600 between late February 2022 and early April 2023.
  • Russian bombing kills at least 25 people across Ukraine, demolishing residential and commercial buildings on April 28.   
May 2023
  • A Russian spy network acquired sensitive technology from EU companies to fuel the war in Ukraine even after a U.S.-led crackdown. The smuggling ring has managed to obtain machine tools from Germany and Finland despite U.S. sanctions imposed in March 2022.
  • The U.S. is sending Ukraine about $300 million in additional military aid, including an enormous number of artillery rounds, howitzers, air-to-ground rockets and ammunition, U.S. officials say May 2.
  • China says May 2 that it does not endorse describing the Ukraine conflict as “aggression by the Russian Federation” though it voted last week in favor of a U.N. resolution that used the phrase.
  • Russia accuses Ukraine on May 3 of trying to assassinate Putin by targeting his residence in the Kremlin with two drones and blamed the U.S., saying it “dictated” the strikes.
  • The Vatican on May 3 confirms the existence of its behind-the-scenes peace mission to try to end the war in Ukraine.
  • Foreign ministers of Russia, China and India gather in Goa on May 4 to discuss regional security matters along with their counterparts from other member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a union of nations seen as a counterweight to Western influence in Eurasia.
  • Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of Russia's Wagner Group mercenary force, dramatically announces May 5 that his forces would pull out of  the town of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, which they have fought for since summer.
  • South Africa is reportedly attempting to dissuade Putin from attending the BRICS summit it is hosting in August over fears that it would be compelled to arrest him on the ICC warrant issued in March.
  • Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the U.N. on May 5 fail to authorize any new ships under a deal allowing safe Black Sea exports of Ukraine grain, which Moscow has threatened to quit on May 18 over obstacles to its own grain and fertilizer exports. Daily inspections of previously authorized ships continue.
  • The U.S. ambassador to South Africa says May 11 that South Africa supplied weapons and ammunition to Russia with the help of a Russian cargo ship that surreptitiously docked at the country’s largest naval base in December. President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the matter “is being looked into,” but that no evidence had yet been provided by Washington.
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announces that the Black Sea Grain Initiative allowing for the export of Ukrainian grain through the country's Black Sea ports, has been extended for another two months.
  • G7 nations decide against imposing a near-outright ban on exports to Russia. The G7 will instead broaden the list of banned goods to restrict items critical to Russia’s war in Ukraine, including those used on the battlefield, such as exports of industrial machinery and tools, according to the draft statement. The G7 will also further target key sectors, such as manufacturing, construction, transportation and business services.
  • The Pentagon overestimates the value of the weapons it has sent to Ukraine by at least $3 billion—an accounting error that could be a boon for the war effort because it will allow the Defense Department to send more weapons now without asking Congress for additional funding.
  • IAEA head Rafael Grossi tells UNSC on May 30 that he has established basic rules to avoid nuclear catastrophe at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The rules are fairly straightforward—one calls for “no attack of any kind, from or against the plant.”
June 2023
  • As part of the Vilnius summit package, NATO allies are expected to upgrade the formal status of NATO’s relationship with Ukraine with a new NATO-Ukraine Council, allowing the country to directly take part in broader discussions about the alliance’s security. NATO leaders are also expected to agree to a long-term fund with a total of €500 million ($534 million) a year to help Ukraine with non-lethal aid and other support.
  • The Kakhovka dam, which is located on the Dnipro River and is controlled by Russian troops, is destroyed on June 6, unleashing millions of gallons of floodwater. Kyiv accuses Russian forces of having blown up the dam and hydroelectric power station, while Moscow blamed Ukrainian bombardment in the area.
  • On June 7, Ukraine launches its long-anticipated counteroffensive, meant to contest Russia's established front line after months of attritional stalemate across much of the battlefield.
  • Putin makes it clear on June 9 that Russia will begin moving non-strategic nuclear weapons to Belarus in July. “We are proceeding on schedule with regard to the most sensitive issues, which we have coordinated,” Putin told a visiting Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi.
  • Russia is importing supplies from Iran for a domestic factory that would manufacture Iranian-designed drones for the war in Ukraine, the White House said on June 9, releasing intelligence findings in what it described as an escalating military collaboration between the two countries.
  • The Pentagon announces on June 9 that it will provide an additional $2.1 billion in long-term weapons aid for Ukraine. The new assistance package will include funding for more Patriot missile battery munitions, Hawk air defense systems and missiles, and small Puma drones that can be launched by hand.
  • Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu issues an order on June 11 requiring all private military companies (PMCs) to sign contracts with — and, thus, subordinate themselves to — the Defense Ministry by the end of the month.
  • Russia remains the number one supplier of nuclear reactor fuel to the U.S. last year, amid unsuccessful efforts to wean off of the Kremlin’s supply of uranium.
  • Four African presidents and three representatives hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on June 16 before heading to St. Petersburg on June 17 to meet his Russian counterpart, Putin. " Zelensky says after the meeting that peace talks with Russia would be possible only after Moscow withdraws its forces from occupied Ukrainian territory.
  • In his address to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum Putin on June 16 rejects suggestions that Russia had become isolated over its invasion of Ukraine, telling the audience that the Russian economy was resilient and that Moscow’s ties with other nations had grown.
  • Kyiv has paid arms suppliers more than $800 million last year for contracts that went completely or partly unfulfilled. Some of the weapons sent to Ukraine by other countries between the beginning of the Russian invasion in February 2022 and end of that year have been unusable.
  • The presidents of South Africa, Senegal, Zambia and Comoros and the prime minister of Egypt meet with Putin in St. Petersburg on June 17 along with officials from Uganda and the Republic of Congo to discuss their peace proposal.
  • NATO leaders will not issue an invitation for Ukraine to join the alliance at a summit in Vilnius in mid-July, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says on June 19. NATO membership for Ukraine should be off the table at an upcoming summit of the Western military alliance, Scholz has suggested, as he urged Western nations to take a “sober look” at the situation in the country.
  • The Pentagon says it will be able to spend $6 billion more than originally expected on arms for Ukraine thanks to what it called accounting errors.
  • President Joe Biden warns that the threat that Putin could use tactical nuclear weapons is “real.”
  • Yevgeny Prigozhin stages a mutiny, leading his PMC Wagner troops on a “march for justice” across southern Russia, toward Moscow. The uprising stands as the greatest military and security threat to Putin’s rule since the end of the second Chechen war. The mutiny itself lasted only 36 hours, but Wagner forces reportedly got as close as 55 miles south of the capital.
  • Prigozhin claims the MoD used rockets to attack Wagner’s positions following orders from Gerasimov and Shoigu. He announced his forces had entered Russian territory and would destroy everyone who resisted, and that they would endure “until the end.”
  • Putin addresses the nation calling the armed rebellion by Prigozhin “a betrayal of our people.”
  • Russian intelligence services may have known in advance of  Prigozhin’s plan to stage a mutiny, but it nonetheless materialized. The mutiny itself lasted only 36 hours, never spread to Moscow and ended with its chief mastermind expelled to Belarus, and some of his purported allies under interrogation. But it will probably take Putin and his team a long time to rebuild his image as the strongman in full control of Russia (that is, if he can fully succeed in doing so at all).
  • CIA Director William Burns quietly reaches out to his Russian counterpart in the aftermath of a failed mutiny by Prigozhin, delivering a message that the U.S. had no involvement in Russia's internal chaos, officials familiar with the matter said.
July 2023
  • A group of former senior U.S. national security officials hold secret talks with Lavrov and other prominent Russians to discuss laying the groundwork for potential negotiations to end the war in Ukraine.
  • The U.S. includes cluster munitions in its latest $800 million package of military aid to Ukraine.
  • On July 7 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says at the upcoming NATO summit allies would "reaffirm that Ukraine will become a member"—which has been the alliance's fraught position for 15 years—and "unite on how to bring Ukraine closer to this goal."
  • The U.S. military accuses Russia of using fighter jets and flares to repeatedly disrupt its drone missions in Syria. The latest incident took place on July 6 when Russian Su-34s and Su-35s dropped flares in front of U.S. MQ-9 drones in northeast Syria, according to a statement and video footage released by U.S. Air Forces Central, which is part of U.S. military command responsible for the Middle and Near East.
  • On July 11, U.S. President Joe Biden and his NATO counterparts approve highly-secretive defense plans that lay out which of the 31 member countries would be called on to respond to an attack anywhere from the Arctic and Baltic Sea regions through the northern Atlantic and south to the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
  • On July 11 NATO declares that Ukraine would be invited to join the alliance, but does not say how or when, reflecting the resolve by President Biden and other leaders not to be drawn directly into Ukraine's war with Russia.
  • Russia formally withdraws from a U.N.-brokered deal to export Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea on July 17 and launches a series of strikes on grain facilities in southern Ukraine, destroying 60,000 tons of grain in the Chornomorsk port alone.
  • Russian police arrest the former leader of Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine, Igor Girkin (aka Strelkov), on extremism charges, which carry a maximum sentence of 12 years.
  • Putin, who has an outstanding arrest warrant issued in his name by the U.N.'s International Criminal Court, will not travel to a BRICS summit to be held in Johannesburg next month.
  • Half as many heads of African states and governments attend the second Kremlin-organized Russia-Africa summit as did in 2019.
August 2023
  • U.S. and Ukrainian officials launch negotiations on bilateral security commitments for Ukraine per the joint declaration of support for Kyiv adopted by the G-7.
  • Moscow provides more than 20% of U.S. nuclear fuel, but the U.S. Senate passes its version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes an amendment aimed at boosting U.S. uranium production and enrichment.
  • Russia expects to get a huge inflow of energy revenue by the end of this year despite an oil price cap imposed by G-7 nations, and may channel it toward spending as the government continues to pour resources into the war in Ukraine.
  • A Russian court convicts imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny on charges of extremism and sentences him to 19 years in prison on Aug. 4. Navalny is already serving a nine-year term on a variety of charges that he says were politically motivated.
  • A summit hosted  by Saudia Arabia and aimed at finding a peaceful end to Russia’s war against Ukraine concludes with no joint statement, though a European diplomat claims there was general support from the delegates of more than 40 nations for the “respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine needs to be at the heart of any peace settlement.”
  • Russia sells about $1.7 billion worth of nuclear products to firms in the United States and Europe.
  • All heads of Ukraine's regional military recruitment centers will be dismissed amid ongoing concerns about corruption.
  • Russia will boost its military forces near its borders with NATO states, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says. He singles out the “militarization of Poland” and says the entry of Finland and Sweden to NATO membership would be “seriously destabilizing” for Russia’s security.
  • Biden's request to Congress for $20 billion in additional funding for Ukraine tees up the first major test of the anti-interventionist sentiment coursing through the GOP. A House vote on Ukraine aid would likely pass with the support of Democrats and Republican hawks. Whether it gets to the floor will depend on McCarthy's appetite for yet another right-wing uprising.
  • The total number of Ukrainian and Russian troops killed or wounded since the war in Ukraine started is nearing a staggering total of 500,000. Russia’s military casualties, the officials estimated, are approaching 120,000 deaths and 170,000 to 180,000 injured troops.
  • The UN Security Council holds a special meeting on August 16 to discuss the humanitarian dire straits in the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh (NKR), but adopts no measures to address the situation even as speakers took turns telling the UN body that the Lachin corridor between the NKR and the Republic of Armenia, which Azerbaijan has been blocking for months, must be reopened immediately.
  • BRICS member states agree to bring Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to their group—a move that “puts the G-7 … into the shade” in terms of economic output. The enlargement will see the BRICS grouping rise to account for 36% of global GDP at purchasing power parity and 46% of the world’s population.
  • The participants of the BRICS summit in South Africa adopt a joint statement on Aug. 23 that says: “We stress our commitment to the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes through dialogue and inclusive consultations in a coordinated and cooperative manner and support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises. ... We recall our national positions concerning the conflict in and around Ukraine as expressed at the appropriate fora, including the UNSC and UNGA.”
  • During the GOP primary debate on Aug. 23, the candidates split on their commitment to more funding for the war to push back Russia's invasion. Pence, Haley and Christie firmly sided with further support, while Ramaswamy objected and DeSantis called for European countries to pick up more of the bill. "
  • Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, this who had staged a mutiny two months earlier, is pronounced dead after his passenger plane crashes on Aug. 23 while en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Prigozhin, Wagner founder Dmitry Utkin and eight other people were on board the plane, which crashed near Kuzhenkino in Tver Oblast on Aug. 23.

For an alternative timeline of U.S.-Russian relations from the 1690s to January 2020 , visit CCNY's web site on U.S.-Russian relations.

Correction: An entry for January 2002 initially identified Yuri Ushakov as Russia's foreign minister; he was in fact Russia's ambassador to the U.S.