Ukraine war MAPPED: How much of Ukraine does Russia control?
Ukrainian air defence system shoot down Russian missiles
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Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in February, marshalling thousands of soldiers over Russia’s shared border with the country. Vast tracts of the country now lie smouldering from the months-long assault, and Russia still has its sights set on occupying more land. Some areas may, under directives from puppet governments, become Russian territory.
How much of Ukraine does Russia control?
Russian forces have spilt over the Ukrainian border in their thousands, accompanied by artillery that has reduced many parts of the country to rubble.
The initial areas targeted by Putin include those already allied to his government, namely those in Luhansk and Donetsk.
The former region became the first to fall in the country’s campaign to control Ukraine’s southern and eastern portions.
Russia took control over the eastern city of Lysychansk last week, consolidating its hold of Luhansk.
He declared victory on Monday evening during a televised meeting with defence minister Sergei Shoigu, who told him troops had completed the “operation”.
The completed military objective means Russia can continue to move west, as intelligence suggests it will now turn to Donetsk.
The UK Ministry of Defence has warned the country will “almost certainly” switch its focus to “capturing [the region of] Donetsk”.
Roughly half of Donetsk is occupied by Russian troops, with only northern portions currently free.
That could soon change as troops residing over a regional border above Donetsk in Izyum shift southwards.
General staffers with the defending country believe Russia will next target Siversk, Fedorivka and Bakhmut, three populous areas in Donetsk.
Where troops can’t reach, shelling may, as Russians have also targeted Sloviansk and Kramatorsk deeper within the territory.
Putin’s existing southern presence is backed by an extensive network of occupied territories in and around the coast.
Tactically significant areas around the Black Sea, including the port city of Mariupol and Melitopol and Kherson further west, fell earlier during Russia’s campaign.
Ukrainian troops struggled to fend off Russian forces supplied via Crimea, which Russia has occupied since 2014.
Ukraine is not defenceless as the prospect of another onslaught looms, because the country’s military remains very much in play.
While troops withdrew from Lysychansk on Sunday, risking “encirclement”, they have wrought significant losses on Russia.
According to the MoD, the country has lost a significant supply of middle and junior-ranking officers primarily responsible for directing the conflict on the front.
With Russian weaponry also destroyed, the country is now functioning with slimmer ranks of demoralised “Frankenstein forces”.
Ukrainian troops will now focus on Kharkiv and its surrounding regions, where they have built a bulwark of defence backed by territory recaptured from Russia.
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