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

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 quickly take 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 long either. 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

RECLAIMED

BY UKRAINE

GAINED

BY RUSSIA

10,000

square miles

10,000

square miles

0

5,000

5,000

FEB. 2022

13.7k sq mi

Feb. 24, invasion day

16k

Russian-held

areas

3.8k

April

March 3 - Week 1

Russia makes aggressive advances in the first week of war.

10k sq mi

Ukrainian

counter-

offensives

2.5k

April 7 - Week 6

Russia regtreats from the north.

480

815

June

Russian forces struggle to make significant territorial gains between May and August.

June 30 - Week 18

Russia makes small advances in the Donbas region.

200

Aug.

620

Sept. 15 - Week 29

Ukraine pushes Russian forces east in the Kharkiv region.

2.2k

Oct.

920

Nov.

Nov. 10 -

Week 37

Russia withdraws its troops from Kherson.

 

1.3k

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.

Weekly changes in assessed

territory control in Ukraine

RECLAIMED BY UKRAINE

GAINED BY RUSSIA

10,000

square miles

10,000

square miles

0

5,000

5,000

FEB. 2022

13.7k sq mi

Feb. 24, invasion day

16k

Russian-held

areas

3.8k

April

March 3 - Week 1

Russia makes aggressive advances in the first week of war.

10k sq mi

Ukrainian

counter-

offensives

2.5k

April 7 - Week 6

Russia withdraws forces from the north of Ukraine.

480

815

June

Russian forces struggle to make significant territorial gains between May and August.

June 30 - Week 18

Russia makes small advances in the Donbas region.

200

Aug.

620

Sept. 15 - Week 29

Ukrainian counteroffensives push Russian forces east in the

Kharkiv region.

2.2k

Oct.

920

Nov.

Nov. 10 - Week 37

Russia withdraws

its troops from Kherson.

 

1.3k

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.

Weekly changes in assessed territory control in Ukraine

RECLAIMED BY UKRAINE

GAINED BY RUSSIA

0

10,000 square miles

5,000

5,000

10,000 square miles

FEB.

2022

13.7k square miles gained by Russia

Feb. 24, when Russia invaded Ukraine

March

16k

Russian-held

areas

3.8k

March 3 - Week 1

After aggressive advances, Russia controls more than 50,000 square miles at the end of the first week of war.

April

10k square miles reclaimed by Ukraine

2.5k

Ukrainian

counter-

offensives

April 7 - Week 6

After a failed attempt to control Kyiv, Russia withdraws forces from the north of Ukraine, giving up more than 10,000 square miles that week.

May

480

815

June

Poorly equipped and manned, Russian forces struggle to make significant territorial gains between May and August.

June 30 - Week 18

Despite Russia’s advances in the Donbas region in late June, the Kremlin’s weekly gains in the summer don’t exceed 815 square miles, about twice the size of Nashville.

200

July

Aug.

620

Sept.

Sept. 15 - Week 29

The end of the summer is marked by significant Russian losses in the Kharkiv region, after Ukrainian counteroffensives push Russian forces east.

2.2k

Oct.

920

Nov.

Nov. 10 - Week 37

After occupying Kherson for nearly nine months, Russia withdraws its troops from the southern city, a major setback for Moscow.

 

1.3k

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.

Weekly changes in assessed territory control in Ukraine

RECLAIMED BY UKRAINE

GAINED BY RUSSIA

Russian-held

areas

0

10,000 square miles

5,000

5,000

10,000 square miles

FEB.

2022

13.7k square miles gained by Russia

Feb. 24, when Russia invaded Ukraine

March

16k

Ukrainian

counter-

offensives

March 3 - Week 1

After aggressive advances into the northeast, east and southern of Ukraine, Russia controls more than 50,000 square miles at the end of the first week of war.

3.8k

April

April 7 - Week 6

After a failed attempt to control Kyiv, Russia withdraws forces from the north of Ukraine, giving up more than 10,000 square miles that week.

10k square miles reclaimed by Ukraine

2.5k

May

480

815

Poorly equipped and manned, Russian forces struggle to make significant territorial gains between May and August.

June

June 30 - Week 18

Despite Russia’s advances in the Donbas region in late June, the Kremlin’s weekly gains in the summer don’t exceed 815 square miles, about twice the size of Nashville.

200

July

Aug.

620

Sept.

Sept. 15 - Week 29

The end of the summer is marked by significant Russian losses in the Kharkiv region, after Ukrainian counteroffensives push Russian forces east.

2.2k

Oct.

920

Nov.

Nov. 10 - Week 37

After occupying Kherson for nearly nine months, Russia withdraws its troops from the southern city, a major setback for Moscow.

 

1.3k

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 withdrew from 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.”

Russia is grabbing men off the street to fight in Ukraine

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

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

Change in Russian-controlled

territory during three turning

points in the war

Reclaimed by Ukraine

Held by Russia

Russian advances

Aggressive gains

From Feb. 24 to March 3

Chernihiv

UKRAINE

Mariupol

Separatist

region

CRIMEA

Northern retreat

March 24 to April 28

Kyiv

Losses in key areas

Sept. 1 to Nov. 10

Kharkiv

Kherson

Change in Russian-controlled territory

during three turning points in the war

Reclaimed by Ukraine

Held by Russia

Russian advances

Aggressive gains

From Feb. 24 to March 3

Chernihiv

UKRAINE

Mariupol

Separatist

region

CRIMEA

Northern retreat

March 24 to April 28

Kyiv

Losses in key areas

Sept. 1 to Nov. 10

Kharkiv

Kherson

Change in Russian-controlled territory during

three turning points in the war

Reclaimed by Ukraine

Held by Russia

Russian advances

Aggressive gains

Northern retreat

Losses in key areas

March 24 to April 28

From Feb. 24 to March 3

Sept. 1 to Nov. 10

Chernihiv

Kyiv

Kharkiv

UKRAINE

Mariupol

Kherson

Separatist

region

CRIMEA

Change in Russian-controlled territory during three turning points in the war

Reclaimed by Ukraine

Held by Russia

Russian advances

Aggressive gains

Northern retreat

Losses in key areas

March 24 to April 28

From Feb. 24 to March 3

Sept. 1 to Nov. 10

Chernihiv

Kyiv

Kharkiv

UKRAINE

Mariupol

Separatist

region

Kherson

CRIMEA

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

Territory held

by Russia

Ukraine

233,000

square miles

7% of

Ukraine

Maryland

(for scale)

Before Feb. 24

17,000 square miles

after THE invasion

The most

controlled

by Russia

22%

March 24

week 4 of war

51,400 square miles

The least

16.6%

April 7

week 6

38,800 square miles

Current

Kentucky

(for scale)

17.4%

Nov. 17

week 38

40,600 square miles

Calculations are based on weekly territory totals.

BEFORE THE invasion

Territory held

by Russia

Ukraine

233,000

square miles

7% of

Ukraine

Maryland

(for scale)

Before Feb. 24

17,000 square miles

after THE invasion

The most

controlled

by Russia

22%

March 24

week 4 of war

51,400 square miles

The least

16.6%

April 7

week 6

38,800 square miles

Current

Kentucky

(for scale)

17.4%

Nov. 17

week 38

40,600 square miles

Calculations are based on weekly territory totals.

BEFORE THE invasion

Territory held by Russia

before the war

Ukraine

233,000

square miles

7% of

Ukraine

Maryland

(for scale)

Before Feb. 24

17,000 square miles

after THE invasion

The most territory

controlled by Russia

The least

Current

Kentucky

(for scale)

22%

17.4%

16.6%

March 24

April 7

Nov. 17

week 4 of war

week 6

week 38

51,400 square miles

38,800

40,600

Calculations are based on weekly territory totals.

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.

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

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.

Editing by Emily Eng, Tim Meko, Kate Rabinowitz and Reem Akkad. Copy editing by Vanessa Larson.

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