How has Russia’s territorial control in Ukraine changed?

Seven months after the invasion, Russia controlled less land than it did in the early days of the war. See how progress stalls.

The surprise and successful Ukrainian military counterattack in the Kharkiv region this month has left Russian forces in control of less land than they did after the first attack on the country in February. 2022, according to a CNN analysis of proprietary data from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Russia’s first push, which began on the night of February 23, allowed it to secure or advance over a fifth of Ukraine’s territory, or about 119,000 square kilometers (46,000 square miles) out of a total of 603,500 square kilometers. Ukraine claims and considers it “temporarily occupied,” the analysis shows.

Seven months after launching an invasion – an invasion western officials It will end in a few days with a flooded Ukrainian capital – Russia controls about three thousand square kilometers less land than it did in the first five days of the war, CNN reports. (Unverified claims will be excluded from the analysis.)

In a move to ensure what they still control, the Kremlin on Friday declare to annex Ukraine’s four regions, of which they have only partial control, further increased the occupation and annexation of the Crimea region in 2014.

At the ceremony attended by the heads of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics founded by Russia, as well as the regions of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, Russian President Valdimir Putin signed four separate agreements on the continuation of admitting new territories into the Russian Federation. Ahead of this announcement, Putin on Thursday officially recognized Kherson and Zaporizhzhia as independent states.

At the end of September, the pro-Russian authorities rushed to so-called “referendum”In the areas of four occupied regions of Ukraine: Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Much of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia remains in Ukrainian hands.

The referendum widely criticized by Ukraine and the international community as a fake and illegal attempt. And even as this process is underway, Ukrainian forces are retaking more territory in Donetsk.

However pre-war poll conducted by CNN in February 2022 showed that no region of Ukraine had more than one-fifth of its supporters in favor of Ukraine’s reunification with Russia, authorities in those occupied areas announced on Wednesday that the people fully agreed to join the Russian Federation.

For the first time in the conflict, the Russian army is on the back foot – its stated goal of capturing all of Donetsk and Luhansk seems to have become more distant after a chaotic retreat from neighboring Kharkiv. neighbor.

On Friday, the Kremlin reiterated that an attack on newly annexed territories would be seen as an act of aggression against Russia. Ukraine’s allies fear the move could create an excuse for a new, dangerous stage in war.

Soldiers pose outside Izium, eastern Ukraine, on September 17, 2022 amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Photo by JUAN BARRETO / AFP via Getty Images

CNN’s analysis of ISW data points to Moscow’s military misfortunes that may have contributed to decisions made in the Kremlin this week.

In the first month of the invasion, Russia almost quadrupled the area it controlled, adding the territory of Crimea (incorporated in 2014) and the separatist-controlled republics of Luhansk and Donetsk, Also created in 2014.

But that would be the pinnacle of Russia’s success. Moscow decided to withdraw its forces from northern and northeastern Ukraine in early April, after failing to capture the capital, Kyiv.

In the months that followed, the armies of the Kremlin and its allies struggled to make significant gains. From early May to late August, its net profit stagnated between 200 and 1,400 square kilometers of Ukrainian land per month, the analysis showed.

And as of September 26, Russia’s total net territory since its withdrawal in early April was just over a thousand square kilometers – half the size of Rhode Island, America’s smallest state, the data shows. see.

CNN explores key events during the invasion of Russia from the perspective of a territorial struggle in an interactive timeline.


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