Ukraine Has Liberated More Than Half Of Russia's Territorial Gains Since February Invasion

People gather in the Svobody Square – Freedom Square – to celebrate the liberation following Russia's withdrawal from Kherson.
People gather in the Svobody Square – Freedom Square – to celebrate the liberation following Russia's withdrawal from Kherson.

People gather in the Svobody Square – Freedom Square – to celebrate the liberation following Russia's withdrawal from Kherson.

Ukraine has liberated more than half the territory taken by Russia since Vladamir Putin’s fresh invasion nine months ago, the UK’s ministry of defence has said.

Posting on Twitter, the department said around 54% of the maximum amount of extra territory Russia seized since February 24 had been taken back, according to the UK’s ministry of defence.

It added Russia now controls around 18% of internationally recognised areas of Ukraine, “including the Donbas and Crimea regions under Russian control since 2014”.

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The ongoing conflict dates back eight years and to the Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine, where Putin’s aggression became clear.

The overthrow of the pro-Russian Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych prompted fears in the Kremlin that the country was moving out of its orbit. Putin responded by sending in troops to seize Crimea.

The annexation of Crimea came at the same time as Russia provided backing to separatists fighting government forces in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland of Donbas.

Russia originally believed it could seize the whole of Ukraine in a matter of days, but the latest stage of the war is now in its ninth month.

Kyiv’s successful counteroffensive reversed much of Moscow’s early land grabs, and Russia’s withdrawal from the regional capital Kherson was significant – prompting residents to celebrate in the streets, with the Ukrainian flag flying over the central square.

The MoD update came as Rishi Sunak and Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed Russia’s latest attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure in a phone call on Friday.

Rishi Sunak, with Volodymyr Zelensky as they look at destroyed Russian military vehicles in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Rishi Sunak, with Volodymyr Zelensky as they look at destroyed Russian military vehicles in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Rishi Sunak, with Volodymyr Zelensky as they look at destroyed Russian military vehicles in Kyiv, Ukraine.

The two leaders spoke amid a series of Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy facilities and other key infrastructure as the Kremlin said it is up to the Ukrainian president to end the war.

Downing Street said that Zelenskyy, whose wife visited London last month, “thanked the UK for its crucial support to help restore power through the supply of generators”.

Sunak also made a surprise visit to Kyiv to meet with president Zelensky in November.

A spokesperson said the prime minister paid tribute to the “success” of the efforts of Ukraine’s armed forces to intercept Russian missiles, with Sunak assuring the Ukrainian leader the “UK was thinking of the Ukrainian people as they continued to defend their country through the winter”.

“Updating on the latest lethal aid deliveries from the UK, the prime minister said that more anti-air guns and further short-range air defence missiles would arrive in the coming weeks,” the spokesperson said.

“Both leaders agreed on the importance of pre-empting Russia’s insincere calls for a ceasefire and the Prime Minister added that the Kremlin needed to withdraw its forces before any agreement could be considered.”

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