It is almost two years since Russia’s invasion but the situation on the ground has changed little in recent months – despite Ukraine’s counter-offensive, which began in June.
Here are the latest developments:
- Ukrainian forces have continued ground operations on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River – a foothold that could allow it to transfer vital equipment across the river
- Russian forces in the east have made confirmed advances north east of Kupiansk, north of Bakhmut, and south west of Avdiivka
- Russian forces have also advanced near Robotyne, a southern village that was retaken by Ukraine early in its counter-offensive
Ukraine maintains foothold across river
Ukraine has continued ground operations on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River with heavy battles reported to be ongoing in the area around the village of Krynky, about 30km (19 miles) from the city of Kherson.
Ukraine first announced it had made a breakthrough in mid-November – the river had separated Ukrainian and Russian forces since Moscow’s troops withdrew from Kherson a year ago.
Analysts at the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) say Ukrainian forces have retained their positions despite Russian counterattacks.
If Ukraine can continue to hold the area it could be a significant advance as it may be able to begin transferring armoured vehicles and air defence systems across the river, putting it a step closer to breaking through to Crimea, the peninsula illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.
The village of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region could offer a similar stepping stone but Russian forces are reported to have made some advances in the area.
When Ukraine retook Robotyne in August it was hoped that its forces would be able to cut the land corridor to Crimea, making Moscow’s supply lines more complicated.
The ISW does note that Russia’s advances might be the result of Ukrainian forces withdrawing to “more defensible positions” near Robotyne.
Russian advances in the east
Russia has also made advances north east of Kupiansk, north of Bakhmut, and south west of Avdiivka, according to the latest ISW assessment.
Perhaps most significant is the activity around Avdiivka, a strategically important town on the front line in eastern Ukraine.
The town is sometimes described as the gateway to the city of Donetsk, which has been occupied by Russia and its proxy forces since 2014. Taking Avdiivka – which lies close by – would allow Russia to push the front line back, making it harder for the Ukrainian forces to retake the territory.
The Ukrainian General Staff says its forces have repelled Russian attacks near Avdiivka itself, as well as from settlements to the north west, south west, and directly west of the town.
However, the ISW says Russia has made confirmed advances near the town and notes that several Russian sources claim its forces are trying to push Ukrainian troops out of positions in the Avdiivka Coke Plant, which occupies a key tactical position.
The plant, on the north-western outskirts of the town, dominates the main road into Avdiivka and, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) believes if Russian forces were to secure it, resupplying the town would “become increasingly difficult for Ukraine”.
It notes the building gives Ukraine a “localised defensive advantage” and says Russian forces will probably suffer significant losses if they attempt to assault the facility.
The battle for Bakhmut
The city of Bakhmut, which has endured some of the heaviest fighting of the war, has been under Russian control for several months and, although Ukraine gained some ground in the surrounding areas over the summer, the battles continue.
Recent assessments by the ISW show Russian forces have made advances north of Bakhmut.
The Ukrainian General Staff says settlements in the area – including Klishchiivka and Andriivka – are continuing to come under artillery and mortar fire.
Despite Russia’s reported recent advances along the front line, UK MoD says the individual attacks are relatively small – “rarely above platoon size”, and adds: “A major Russian breakthrough is unlikely and overall, the front is characterised by stasis.”
More than a year of fighting
Russia’s invasion began with dozens of missile strikes on cities all over Ukraine before dawn on 24 February 2022.
Russian ground troops moved in quickly and within a few weeks were in control of large areas of Ukraine and had advanced to the suburbs of Kyiv.
Russian forces were bombarding Kharkiv, and they had taken territory in the east and south as far as Kherson, and surrounded the port city of Mariupol.
But they hit very strong Ukrainian resistance almost everywhere and faced serious logistical problems with poorly motivated Russian troops suffering shortages of food, water and ammunition.
Ukrainian forces were also quick to deploy Western supplied arms such as the Nlaw anti-tank system, which proved highly effective against the Russian advance.
By October 2022, the picture had changed dramatically and having failed to take Kyiv, Russia withdrew completely from the north. Since then, little has changed on the ground.
By David Brown, Bella Hurrell, Dominic Bailey, Mike Hills, Lucy Rodgers, Paul Sargeant, Alison Trowsdale, Tural Ahmedzade, Chris Clayton, Kady Wardell, Mark Bryson, Zoe Bartholomew, Sean Willmott, Sana Dionysiou, Joy Roxas, Gerry Fletcher, Jana Tauschinsk, Debie Loizou, Simon Martin and Prina Shah.
About these maps
To indicate which parts of Ukraine are under control by Russian troops we are using daily assessments published by the Institute for the Study of War with the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project. To show key areas where advances are taking place we are also using updates from the UK Ministry of Defence and BBC research.
The situation in Ukraine is often fast moving and it is likely there will be times when there have been changes not reflected in the maps.