How large are Ukraine’s cities? Some U.S. comparisons.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has drawn the world’s attention to places that may have been unfamiliar to many before the past week.

The country covers more territory than any in Europe except Russia, about 233,000 square miles. If you placed it over the eastern United States, it would stretch from Missouri to the Atlantic Ocean and from Ohio to Georgia.

Within it are cities with thriving tech sectors, industrial areas that specialize in metallurgy and machinery, and soaring historical and cultural sites. Ukraine is known as Europe’s breadbasket because its rich soil produces so much corn, wheat and other crops for export.

Kyiv

Kharkiv

Mariupol

Odessa

UKRAINE

Kherson

UNITED

STATES

200 MILES

Kyiv

Kharkiv

Mariupol

UKRAINE

Odessa

Kherson

UNITED

STATES

200 MILES

Kyiv

Kharkiv

UKRAINE

Mariupol

Odessa

Kherson

UNITED

STATES

200 MILES

Mapping the Russian invasion of Ukraine

No national census has occurred since 2001, but the World Bank estimated that roughly 44 million people lived in Ukraine in 2020, about the same number who live in California and Oregon combined.

More than 1 million people have fled since the Russian invasion began at the end of February, according to the United Nations refugee agency, which estimates that 4 million or more may eventually go.

Ukraine’s strategically important territory has been attacked, on and off, for many centuries. Here are some of the key cities Russia is trying to take over in its siege.

Kyiv

Pop. 3 million

5 MILES

Chicago

Pop. 2.7 million

Chicago

Pop. 2.7 million

Kyiv

Pop. 3 million

5 MILES

Chicago

Pop. 2.7 million

Chicago

Pop. 2.7 million

Chicago

Pop. 2.7 million

Chicago

Pop. 2.7 million

Kyiv

Pop. 3 million

5 MILES

Kyiv

Population 3 million

Chicago

Population 2.7 million

5 MILES

Ukraine’s capital is a modern city built around an ancient center. Kyiv’s founding year is considered to be 482, but artifacts found in the area indicate that people settled there more than 15,000 years ago.

For the past millennium, Kyiv has been a religious hub as well as a seat of power, and the city contains some of Orthodox Christianity’s most sacred historic shrines. Two of the most prominent ones, the Cathedral of St. Sophia and the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (the Monastery of the Caves), date to the 11th century and make up a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Kyiv shrines, memorials with powerful symbolic value at risk

Kharkiv

Pop. 1.4 million

5 MILES

San Antonio

Pop. 1.4 million

Kharkiv

Pop. 1.4 million

5 MILES

San Antonio

Pop. 1.4 million

San Antonio

Pop. 1.4 milliont

Kharkiv

Pop. 1.4 million

5 MILES

San Antonio

Population 1.4 million

Kharkiv

Population 1.4 million

5 MILES

The diverse and predominantly Russian-speaking city of Kharkiv, founded as a fortress in 1654, sits 25 miles from the Russian border. It is known for science, art and industry, but also for its location at the junction of three rivers, several major highways and a network of rail lines.

Because of Kharkiv’s proximity to Russia and strong cross-border ties, the Kremlin may have assumed that the city’s residents would welcome Russian troops. That was not the case.

“You are killed by Russians, whether you want it or not,” wrote Kharkiv poet Serhiy Zhadan in a Facebook post thanking those who helped the city’s fighters. “Probably you don’t want, I think.”

Why Kharkiv, a city known for its poets, has become a key battleground in Ukraine

384

Kherson

Pop. 287,826

5 MILES

Durham, N.C.

Pop. 283,506

384

Kherson

Pop. 287,826

5 MILES

Durham, N.C.

Pop. 283,506

640

Kherson

Pop. 287,826

Durham, N.C.

Pop. 283,506

5 MILES

Durham, N.C.

Population 283,506

Kherson

Population 287,826

5 MILES

Kherson is a port and shipbuilding city on the Dnieper River at the Black Sea, and it is known for growing particularly tasty watermelons. It was the first city to fall to Russian troops, and it is facing dire shortages of food, medicine and other supplies.

Mariupol

Pop. 441,098

5 MILES

Minneapolis

Pop. 429,954

Mariupol

Pop. 441,098

5 MILES

Minneapolis

Pop. 429,954

Mariupol

Pop. 441,098

Minneapolis

Pop. 429,954

5 MILES

Mariupol

Population 441,098

Minneapolis

Population 429,954

5 MILES

Mariupol lies in southern Ukraine on the Sea of Azov, a strategic location that could allow Russia to create a land bridge through Ukraine to Moscow-controlled Crimea. Russian shelling has cut off water and power lines as well as rail links and bridges to the city.

Mariupol, key Ukrainian port, under siege and out of water: ‘We are being destroyed’

Odessa

Pop. 993,831

5 MILES

San Jose

Pop. 1 million

Odessa

Pop. 993,831

5 MILES

San Jose

Pop. 1 million

Odessa

Pop. 993,831

San Jose

Pop. 1 million

5 MILES

Odessa

Population 993,831

San Jose

Population 1 million

5 MILES

Odessa, Ukraine’s third-largest city, is a popular seaside tourist destination and a major Black Sea port. The city was preparing Thursday for a possible onslaught of Russian warships.

Sources: Planet Labs PBC and European Space Agency (satellite imagery), World Bank, CIA World Factbook

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