Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that Russia controls about one-fifth of its territory, including territories acquired by the Moscow invasion, the occupied Crimean peninsula and territories occupied by Moscow-backed separatists.
“Today, about 20 percent of our territory is under the control of the occupiers,” the Ukrainian leader said in a speech to lawmakers in Luxembourg.
Russian forces are tightening their grip on the eastern Donbass region, and in that region, Ukraine’s de facto administrative center is constantly pushing towards Kramatorsk.
However, they have returned from the vicinity of the capital and the northeastern regions to concentrate their aggression on the eastern industrial zone.
Zelensky says that in 2014, Kremlin-backed separatists and Russian military forces controlled 43,000 square kilometers (16,600 square miles), an area he compared to the size of the Netherlands.
But that figure – more than three months after Russia’s invasion – has grown to about 125,000 square kilometers, an area that he says is “much larger” than the combined of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
He also told lawmakers that more than twice its area – “about 300,000 square kilometers” – had been “contaminated” by mines and unexploded ordnance.
“12 million Ukrainians have been displaced and more than five million have gone abroad,” he added.
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