Russian troops control about a fifth of Ukraine after nearly 100 days of war, Zelenskyy says
Jake Epstein – June 2, 2022
Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russian troops control about a fifth of Ukraine.
In an address to the Luxembourgish parliament, Zelenskyy said Russia controls about 125,000 square kilometers.
Fighting has been concentrated in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region for weeks now.
After 99 days of war, Russian forces now control about a fifth of Ukrainian territory, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Thursday.
In an address to the Luxembourgish parliament, Zelenskyy said about “20 percent of our territory is under the control of the occupiers,” or around 125,000 square kilometers — an area larger than Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands combined.
Russia’s occupation includes a stretch of land that goes as north and east as Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv, and as south as Mykolaiv. Zelenskyy said the war’s frontline, where “constant fighting” takes place, stretches for about 1,000 kilometers.
The occupied area Zelenskyy referred to also includes the Crimean region, which Russian forces invaded and annexed in 2014.
Major Russian advances in the first few weeks of the war — including a failed attempt to seize the capital city Kyiv — were answered with strong counter-resistance as Ukrainian forces slowly reclaimed the territory it lost.
Russia’s retreat revealed grisly scenes of civilian life under occupation, including evidence of mass executions and torture of innocent bystanders.
Fighting is now concentrated in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, where Russia has bombarded Ukrainian cities and attacked civilian areas as President Vladimir Putin’s troops try to progress deeper into Ukraine.
“The Russian army has already destroyed almost the entire Donbas,” Zelenskyy said, “city after city.”
But Zelenskyy recently vowed that Ukraine won’t cede any of its territory to Russia, and said there won’t be peace until Putin agrees to return areas seized by Russia back to 2014 — like the annexed Crimean peninsula or the Moscow-backed separatist-controlled regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Despite fighting being concentrated in eastern Ukraine, the impact of the war continues to be felt across the country. Zelenskyy said Ukraine “suffers” from Russian air strikes every day — weathering thousands of missiles since the war began in late February.
There are also about 300,000 square kilometers “bestrewn with mines and unexploded ordnance,” he added.