WP: What Russia has gained and lost so far in Ukraine, visualized

November 21, 2022

For weeks, Russia has struggled to make any territorial advances in Ukraine. Russian troops have retreated from key areas in the east and the south, most recently from the city of Kherson.

The Kremlin’s early objective to quicklytake control of all of Ukraine may have been too ambitious, according to Max Bergmann, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Now what Russia is trying to do is not necessarily gain more territory. It’s just hold onto what they have,” Bergmann said.

U.S. government officials expected the war to be over in days. It has so far lasted nearly nine months. Russia did not expect the conflict to last this longeither. That was the Kremlin’s “original sin,” according to Mason Clark, a senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War.


“What has impeded Russian advances is that they did not prepare to have to fight for so long,” Clark said.A Washington Post analysis of data from the Institute for the Study of War shows that, after aggressive advances in the first weeks of war, Russia hasn’t gained more than 1,000 square miles in a week since April.

Weekly changes in assessed territory control in Ukraine

Counts are approximate. Week counts start on each Thursday because the first day of the invasion was Thursday, Feb. 24.
Territory gains and losses are calculated by subtracting the total territory controlled by Russia at the end of each week from the previous week

Ukrainian soldiers reclaimed the Kherson area after Moscow’s Nov. 11 retreat, marking the biggest victory for Ukraine in the war so far and Russia’s third major blow, after its troops withdrewfrom the north in April and then from Kharkiv in September.

Russia’s struggles to make advances are a direct consequence of the costly initial phase of the war, according to CSIS’s Bergmann. Tens of thousands of its troops were killed and a significant amount of its equipment was destroyed.

After failing to seize Kyiv, the Kremlin was left with “poorly equipped, poorly manned units that aren’t quite fulsome” in the field, Bergmann said. “Many of the resources are exhausted and they haven’t been rotated out.”

After Russia lost resources in Ukraine, it hit a long plateau, unable to make any significant gains.

Total territory controlled by Russia at the end of each week

Since early September, the plateau has turned into a downward trend, with Russian forces consistently losing territory.

Russian-controlled territory in context

Ukraine’s territory is about the same size as the state of Texas, or 6 percent of the United States. Although Ukraine can seem small when compared with the United States, it’s considered large in European standards — the second-largest country, in fact, after Russia.

Before the war, Moscow controlled about 17,000 square miles of Ukraine’s land, split up into Crimea (annexed by the Kremlin in 2014) and the separatist-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk.

By the end of the fourth week of the war, Russia controlled the most land since its invasion, about 51,000 square miles, or 22 percent of Ukraine. In the United States, this percentage would be the equivalent to the entire Midwest and some more.

BEFORE THE INVASION

As of Nov. 17, Russia controlled some 40,000 square miles in Ukraine, mainly in the east and south. That’s about 17 percent of the country, the lowest percentage controlled by Moscow since April.

What comes next

Analysts say Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy is aimed at exhausting and outlasting Ukrainian troops, with the aim of decreasing allies’ confidence in Ukraine’s capabilities, all the while strengthening and training new forces.

“The Russian forces might be able to take some territory around Donetsk, but I certainly don’t think they are going to achieve any decisive breakthroughs, which they haven’t for months and months in the war,” Clark said.

Despite Ukraine’s victory in Kherson, reclaiming the east will be a difficult and phased task. “It’s going to require several counteroffensives more to actually retake more Russian-occupied territory,” Clark said.

While momentum seems to be on Ukraine’s side, the shape the war will take in the coming months still hangs in the balance. To Bergmann, the main question is whether Ukraine will be able to keep advancing in the weeks before the winter, when the rain and mud usually make military movements more difficult.

“There’s a lot still to play for in this conflict and it’s very uncertain which direction it will go,” he said.

Data from the Institute for the Study of War, as of Nov. 17.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/11/21/russia-territory-gains-ukraine-war/

9 comments

  1. “While momentum seems to be on Ukraine’s side, the shape the war will take in the coming months still hangs in the balance. To Bergmann, the main question is whether Ukraine will be able to keep advancing in the weeks before the winter, when the rain and mud usually make military movements more difficult.”

    Always these winter prognoses!
    I count on two things; the stupidity and low morale of the cockroaches, and the ingenuity and solid determination of the Ukrainians. They both have served us well during this entire nine months of war. And, let’s not forget that it was just during the muddy season that Ukraine achieved its first major victory; liberating the north in April. If UA forces can eradicate enough cockroach supplies and keep supply routes under fire control, the same can be achieved in the Donbas and the south.

    Liked by 7 people

    • These so called experts have obviously never experienced a Ukrainian winter. You don’t get rain and mud when the temperature drops to -20, you get perfect ground to move tanks and other armoured vehicles. With adequate winter clothing and shelter, it’s the orcs who will be suffering in their summer “üniforms”, just like Hitler’s nazis in 1943.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Unfortunately though F1, the weather in that region is not reliably frigid like where you are. Because of the desert and the proximity of Crimea, where the temperature can be +10 even in January, it’s a bit unpredictable, with sudden thaws, mud etc. In nearby Mykolaiv and Odesa oblasts, it’s a bit colder.
        Overall, the weather is not particularly helpful to either side.
        It’s long range ballistic missiles and ATCM’s that will be the equalizer.
        Or rather I’d say, the game changer.
        FFS allies, instead of trying to help them “get through the winter”, give them the means to smash the fucks!

        Liked by 3 people

    • The key to this conflict lies in three elements, morale of the respective forces, ability to disrupt logistics and the weather. In all three, Russian forces are suffering much more than the Ukrainians. I firmly believe that continued targeting of Russian logistics is the surest way to achieve battlefeld success as lack of ammunition, lack of food and lack of winter clothing will be the deciding factor. We should not forget that the 1944 winter conflct was won by Russia with key Ukrainian forces who degraded nazi supplies and forced retreats, all during severe bizzard conditions. I suspect the same strategy will deliver the same result for Ukraine.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Of course, destroying the enemy’s supply chain is crucial! This is what made Kherson untenable for the cockroaches. I’m confident that the UA forces will continue to smash whatever it can, in this regard.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “There’s a lot still to play for in this conflict and it’s very uncertain which direction it will go,” he said.”

    There is uncertainty. But this is purely because of the abject failure of the allies a) to provide Ukraine with what it needs to achieve a decisive victory and b) to smash the putinazi economy.

    Liked by 5 people

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