Fighting back: Graph shows how Russia failed to keep Ukrainian territory
Russia currently controls 16.55% of Ukraine, a huge drop from its peak of nearly 25% in March. War Mapper, an Open Source Intelligence Twitter account, uploaded a graph on January 3 visualising the ongoing battle for territorial control.
Prior to the full-scale invasion, Russia controlled approximately 7% of Ukrainian territory. This shot up to around 25% when Moscow launched a nationwide attack and occupied regions across Ukraine, including around the capital, Kyiv. In total, Russian forces occupied an estimated 163,000 square km in March, according to the Institute of the Study of War (ISW).
But after failing to take the capital in three days as promised, Moscow retreated from the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions after talks in Istanbul on March 29. This led to the biggest territorial loss for Russia, with Ukraine seeing a 5.31% regain of land control.
Over the next few months, not much changed and fighting remained primarily in the East and South of Ukraine. However, in September, Kyiv launched an impressive counter-offensive in Kharkiv that saw Ukrainian troops liberate thousands of square kilometres in a matter of weeks, regaining 1.76% of land control without the aid of peace talks.
Bolstered by the success in the East, Ukrainian troops in the South liberated the city of Kherson and the surrounding settlements, causing Russia to suffer a major setback. In October and November Ukraine saw its territorial control increase by 0.42% and 0.64% respectively.
However, as winter set in and diplomacy reached a deadlock, the situation plateaued. Ukraine only liberated 70 square km in December and fighting has stalled around the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast, where violence has intensified in the last month. According to the ISW, the Wagner Group fighters are struggling to advance in Bakhmut due to strong Ukrainian defensive positions, as well as Russian soldiers citing a lack of sufficient equipment.
Nevertheless, both sides seem determined to carry on fighting. A recent poll from the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) showed that 85% of Ukrainians don't want to make territorial concessions. At the same time, Kyiv claims that Moscow is planning a new mobilisation in order to turn the tide of the war.
“We have no doubt that the current masters of Russia will throw everything they have left and everyone they can round up to try to turn the tide of the war and at least delay their defeat,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday, January 3.
“We have to disrupt this Russian scenario. We are preparing for this. The terrorists must lose. Any attempt at their new offensive must fail.”
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