The Second Great Patriotic War (Russian: Вторая Великая Отечественная война) was a conflict that began in August 2015 when the government of Ukraine, under President Petro Poroshenko, attempted to invade Russia itself.
The war in eastern Ukraine was going on for months, and the government of President Poroshenko was growing impatient. The rebels successfully held out in Donetsk and Lugansk, and the Ukrainian army was unable to continue an offensive due to mass desertions and defections. Low morale both at the front and in the rest of the country resulted in protests, especially as funding was cut for certain services by the president to finance the war in the east. In the Kharkiv oblast, protests turned into riots, and the Kharkiv People's Republic was proclaimed. In Kiev, riots also ensued. The radical members of parties like Right Sector and Svoboda called Poroshenko weak and indecisive. The president feared a coup, and decided to invade a part of Russia in order to divert the public's attention from his failures, as well as to please the ultranationalists. In preparation, hundreds of thousands of more conscripts were forced into service, and NATO provided equipment for the campaign.
The declaration of war came on 1 August 2015, as Ukrainian forces began their attack. The 8th Army Corps spearheaded the assault, attacking Russian border posts. Their goal was to hold some territory in Russia before more units could be mobilized. The 23rd and 30th Mechanized Infantry Brigades, the 1st Armored Brigade, and the 18th Special Purpose Brigade, along with several battalions of the Ukrainian National Guard, crossed the border and began attacking nearby settlements. The Russian military, once alerted, deployed the nearest unit available, along with air support, as soon as the call came. The nearest unit happened to be 72nd Rifle Brigade. After several hours of fighting in the wilderness near the border, the Ukrainian 8th Corps was beaten back, having suffered 6,000 casualties out of its total 14,000 men. Eventually, more Russian units arrived, along with local interior ministry special units. The 8th corps was driven back to the border, where it took a further 3,000 casualties. It completelyretreated out of Russian territory.
Poroshenko was furious at their defeat, and ordered the rest of the forces in the region to attack. A combined force of 450,000 men attacked the Russian border, but the Russian military forces of the Western and Southern Military Districts awaited them. After another several hours of fighting, the Ukrainian troops pushed into a part of Russia, but took 90,000 casualties. The Russian force took ony 35,000, with a total force of around 225,000. Over the next several days, the fighting continued in the border region. Many countries of the world condemned the Ukrainian attack on Russia and the Western states for supporting it, while NATO blamed it on "Russian aggression". More fighting resulted in the Ukrainian forces being completely pushed out by 8 August. Russian forces, mobilizing, prepared for an incursion into Ukraine itself.