Shrews of the Sorex genus are an evolutionarily successful group that includes more than 77 species widely distributed in Eurasia and North America. The genus is one of the rare cases where karyotypic changes reflect well the evolutionary relationships among its species. The taxa showing the greatest variation in karyotype are usually classified into the Sorex araneus group. Its evolution was associated with chromosomal rearrangements, which could have promoted fast diversification of this group into many chromosomal races and species. These processes were additionally complicated by introgressions of mitochondrial DNA, which made the evolutionary history of this group quite complex and difficult to infer. To tackle the problem, we performed multi-method phylogenetic analyses based on mitochondrial cytochrome b that is considered a good molecular marker available for many representatives of Sorex. The results were compared with phylogenies based on chromosomal rearrangement data and put into temporal and spatial context using molecular dating and historical biogeography methods. We complemented the study with the estimation of diversification rates within the S. araneus group as well as comparing the results with paleontological records and climatic oscillations within the last 4 million years. Based on the gathered data, we proposed a hypothetical scenario for the evolution and geographic dispersion of species belonging to the S. araneus group. The shrews began to diversify about 2.7 million years ago in Eurasia and then migrated at least twice to North America. The evolution of shrews was driven by Pleistocene glacial and interglacial cycles, which increased their speciation rate and the emergence of new lineages. The migrations of populations were accompanied by introgressions of mitochondrial DNA into native shrews and occurred at least twice.