Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Ukraine: Map of Russian Control in February 2023

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Map of Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine on February 21, 2023. In addition to the Crimean peninsula, which Russia had already seized in 2014, and parts of the far eastern Donetsk and Luhansk provinces (the Donbas region) already controlled by Russia-backed separatist rebels (and formerly declared independent as the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics), Russian forces still control a large strip of territory just north of Crimea, including large parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces, as well as large additional areas of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. Meanwhile, all of those provinces are now claimed by the Russian government as parts of Russia, creating a new claimed international border through what was until recently undisputed eastern Ukraine. Map includes key locations from the news, such as Bakhmut, Synkivka, Marinka, Snake Island, and more. Colorblind accessible.
Map by Evan Centanni and Djordje Djukic. Contact us for permission to use this map.

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Timeline by Djordje Djukic

Map of territorial control within the claimed borders of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Lugansk People's Republic (LPR), which now consider themselves part of Russia, updated to February 21, 2023. Map shows that the vast majority of the LPR, otherwise known as Ukraine's Luhansk province, is now under the control of Russian, while Russian forces also control over half of the DPR, or Ukraine's Donetsk province, including the major central and southern cities of Donetsk, Horlivka, Makiyivka, and Mariupol. Includes key locations from the news, such as Bakhmut, Krasna Hora, Ivanivske, Klischivka, Marinka, Vulhedar, and many more. Colorblind accessible.
Map showing what parts of the claimed territory of the self-declared Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics - now claimed as part of Russia - are controlled by Russian forces and allies, compared to the Ukrainian government. Click to enlarge.

Russian Advances: Steady, but Slow

In the month following our previous Ukraine war control map report, the advantage has remained with Russia, though not by much. 

While Ukraine has made some very small advances, Russian forces have achieved still-small but more-significant gains, nearly cutting off Ukrainian supply lines to the small city of Bakhmut in Donetsk.

Russia has also made small advances in the contested area west of Donetsk city, and in the northeastern corner of mostly-Ukraine-controlled Kharkiv province - the only remaining area of Russian control that it doesn't officially claim as part of Russia.

Meanwhile, Snake Island in the Black Sea is now known to be held by Ukraine, after reports following Russia's mid-2022 withdrawal had left the situation unclear.

This report describes the situation as of one week ago, on February 21, 2023.

Timeline of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

The following is a chronology of changes to territorial control and other major events since our previous map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine dated to January 24, 2023.

Terminology notes: On our map and timeline we have generally spelled place names within Ukraine based on the Ukrainian-language versions, since Ukrainian is the country's official language. Many places have an alternate name based on the Russian language, which is also spoken in Ukraine. We have made exceptions for some places with well-established English names, such as Odessa and the Dnieper River.

In the case of the Luhansk/Lugansk, PolGeoNow uses the Ukrainian spelling ("Luhansk") for the province of Ukraine and that region in general, and the Russian spelling ("Lugansk") for the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic, whose official language is Russian. For Ukraine's capital city, historically known in English by its Russian name, Kiev, we have used the Ukrainian version, Kyiv, in order to conform to the emerging consensus among English-language news media.

Ukraine's administrative subdivisions are called "provinces" in our timeline, but it's also common to hear them referred to as "regions", or by the Ukrainian-language term, "oblast". Provinces have generally only been labeled by name on the above map when they're mentioned in the timeline but don't share their name with a major city that's already labeled.

Flag of Ukraine Full Country Name:  
• Ukraine (English)
• Ukrayina (Ukrainian)
Capital: Kyiv

January 25, 2023

After several weeks of pressure and criticism from allies for its reluctance, Germany agreed to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, and to allow other countries to do the same (the terms under which the tanks were originally purchased from Germany by countries such as Poland specified that they couldn’t be exported without Germany’s permission). The United States also announced it would send M1A2 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. These announcements also came after the United Kingdom stated it would send Challenger 2 tanks to the country.

Altogether, it was estimated that Ukraine’s Western allies would be sending nearly 200 modern battle tanks. However, the next month new estimates said they would only provide about 50 of those tanks by the beginning of April. The Netherlands and Denmark had reportedly decided not to send Leopard 2 tanks, while Finland had not yet made a decision. Poland, Norway, Canada, Spain, and Finland were reported to be sending an older model of the Leopards, but according to Germany and the United Kingdom many of the tanks were in poor condition and in need of repairs, with only a few operational. In addition, the Abrams tanks were only expected to arrive in Ukraine in 2024, and would not include a secret type of armor known for making them especially effective. Germany was said to be frustrated with the delays by the same European partners who had originally pressured it to send the Leopards.

In the east, Russian forces captured Ukrainian fortifications in the north of Krasna Hora (see close-up map), while from the south they started attacking another settlement nearby.

In the southeast, Russian troops advanced towards Vuhledar (see close-up map) and seized a cottage area in the southeastern outskirts of the town, also cutting off the highway running to the northeast. Ukrainian positions in Vuhledar itself were also coming under heavy rocket fire.

January 26, 2023

A new wave of Russian missile strikes hit 11 regions of Ukraine, killing 11 people. Ukraine claimed to have shot down 47 out of 55 missiles fired.

In the southeast, Russian forces captured an area south of Vuhledar.

January 27, 2023

In the east, Russian forces advanced west and north of Klischivka (see close-up map) towards two settlements on the highway running west of Bakhmut, including Ivanivske (see close-up map).

In the southeast, a Ukrainian counterattack managed to recapture the cottage area in the southeastern outskirts of Vuhledar.

January 28, 2023

According to Russia, a Ukrainian rocket strike on a hospital in Luhansk province left 14 people dead and 24 wounded.

In the east, Russian forces made advances north and northwest of Soledar, in an attempt to bypass a newly-built Ukrainian trench line in the hills west of the town. Later in the day, fighters of the Russian Wagner Group, officially a private military contractor, reported that they had captured a village west of Soledar and north of Krasna Hora. This was denied by Ukraine’s government, but supported by third-party conflict trackers and the pro-Ukraine Institute for the Study of War think tank.

January 29-30, 2023

In the east, a railway section north of Horlivka that had previously been reported seized by Russian forces was confirmed to be still under Ukrainian control. However, Russian troops captured some parts of it the next day, January 30.

In the southeast, Russian forces launched a new assault on Vuhledar from the southeast, capturing the heights east of the town. The next day, January 30, they advanced to the edge of the cottage area once again, recapturing some of the positions they had lost. The Russian troops also made advances further east of Vuhledar.

January 30, 2023

In the east, Wagner Group forces captured a village north of Soledar, along the Bakhmut-Siversk highway (see close-up map), and would fully secure it two days later, on February 1. Meanwhile, they also made advances in Bakhmut’s northern Miasokombinat and eastern Zabakhmutka districts, while also seizing a winery in the town’s eastern outskirts. Elsewhere, Russian troops made new advances west of Klischivka, coming within 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) of the Bakhmut-Kostiantynivka highway (see close-up map for location of the latter town) and bringing the road within its artillery fire range.

January 31, 2023

In the east, Russian forces made advances in Bakhmut’s Miasokombinat district, including the capture of a gypsum mine.

February 1, 2023

In the east, Russian forces made further advances in eastern Bakhmut amid high-rise buildings, while they also advanced northwest of Krasna Hora.

February 2, 2023

A US private military company called the Mozart Group, which was engaged in the training of Ukrainian troops and rescue of civilians in Ukraine, collapsed after a series of accusations were made regarding the company’s leadership, including financial misconduct and alcohol-related errors in judgement.

In the northeast, Russian forces advanced for a reported one kilometer (0.6 miles) west of Kreminna (see close-up map).

In the east, Wagner forces captured another village on the road between Soledar and Siversk.

February 3, 2023

In the east, Russian forces advanced north and northwest of Opytne (see close-up map), through Bakhmut’s southern suburbs. They also made a small advance north of Klischivka, coming within 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) of Ivanivske.

February 4, 2023

In the northeast, Russian forces advanced northwest of Kreminna, reaching the Donetsk-Luhansk administrative border.

In the east, Russian forces advanced to the outskirts of Bilohorivka (see close-up map), while most of the town remained under the control of Ukrainian forces, despite earlier reports of them withdrawing and Russian troops capturing the settlement. Meanwhile, Russian forces made a new advance north of Soledar, approaching another village on the road to Siversk. They would again advance towards the village the next day, February 5, as they began an attack on Ukrainian trenches. Elsewhere, Russian forces started attacking Bakhmut’s northern Stupka district

A US aid worker was killed during the fighting in Bakhmut.

February 5, 2023

In the east, Russian forces made significant advances north and northwest of Klischivka, reaching the outskirts of Ivanivske and bringing more of the Bakhmut-Kostiantynivka highway within their artillery fire range, increasingly isolating Bakhmut, where fierce fighting was raging. They also advanced in the south of Bakhmut, reaching the outskirts of the city’s Sobachivka district, while making new gains in the Miasokombinat district around the same time, bringing between 50 and 60 percent of the district under their control. To the north, Russian forces captured an industrial facility in the south of Krasna Hora, while also advancing southwest of the settlement. Other Russian troops made small advances west and northwest of Soledar, in an attempt to surround the Ukrainian trench system. They advanced in an assault on the trench line later in the day. Elsewhere, Russian forces advanced across Marinka’s main avenue into a factory area in the southwest of the town.

In the south, some islands in the Dnieper River at Kherson that had previously been thought to be no-man’s land were confirmed to be under Ukrainian control. Later, another river island containing docks opposite Kherson city’s Marine Trade Port was confirmed to be under Russian control.

February 6, 2023

In the east, Wagner forces advanced northwest of Krasna Hora in two directions. They also seized the first buildings on the outskirts of Bakhmut’s northern Stupka district.

February 8, 2023

A self-published report by Pulitzer Prize-winning veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, quoting an anonymous source, claimed that the September 2022 bombing of the Russian Nord Stream underwater gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea had been conducted by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in cooperation with Norway and under orders from US President Joe Biden. According to the report, US deep-sea divers, under cover of a NATO military exercise, had planted mines along the pipelines, later detonating the explosives remotely using a sonar buoy dropped from a Norwegian Navy surveillance plane. The US vigorously denied the allegations. Sweden and Denmark, whose jurisdiction the explosions took place in (due to those areas of the sea lying in their exclusive economic zones), had concluded that the damage was deliberate, but hadn’t assigned responsibility. Hersh is known for a number of widely-praised journalistic investigations from the 1960s into the 2000s, though in recent years he’s been repeatedly criticized by other journalists for making difficult-to-verify claims.

In the northeast, in the area of the Kharkiv-Luhansk administrative border northwest of Svatove, as well as west of Kreminna, Russian forces were reported to have regained the initiative. They reportedly had made gains on February 4 around nine kilometers (5.5 miles) north of Synkivka in Kharkiv province. Two days later, Russian troops had reached the outskirts of Synkivka, while seizing a village just north of it and parts of a second one further north. The second village would be fully secured by Russian forces on February 17.

In the east, Russian forces captured the Ukrainian trench line system west of Soledar after launching a pincer attack along two axes. They also advanced northwest and southwest of Krasna Hora, towards the Bakhmut-Sloviansk highway (see close-up map), reaching a road junction and bringing the highway within artillery fire range. Russian forces were reported to be within 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) of the road. Meanwhile, Russian troops advanced south of Ivanivske towards the southwestern outskirts of Bakhmut.

February 9, 2023

In the east, Russian forces made some advances along the Bakhmut-Siversk highway and to the east of it, while Ukrainian forces captured some positions east of Siversk, on the Donetsk-Luhansk administrative border. Meanwhile, Russian troops made a new advance towards the Bakhmut-Sloviansk highway and reportedly reached the road. Elsewhere, they made a small advance south of Marinka.

February 10, 2023

In what was suspected to be the beginning of a long-anticipated Russian offensive, 70 missile and drone strikes were conducted across Ukraine.

In the east, Russian forces advanced southwest of Ivanivske, reaching the Bakhmut-Kostiantynivka highway, while Ukrainian forces destroyed a bridge on the highway. Meanwhile, they reportedly captured half of Bilohorivka. Elsewhere, Russian troops advanced northeast of Vodyane (see close-up map), coming within 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) of Avdiivka (see close-up map). They also advanced north of Marinka under the cover of heavy artillery fire in an attempt to envelop the town.

In the southeast, Russian forces advanced west and southwest of Pavlivka (see close-up map).

In the southwest, a road and railway bridge south of Odessa was attacked by a Russian drone boat, damaging the bridge.

Flag of Russia. Three plain horizontal bars of colors (from top to bottom) white, dark blue, and red. Country Short Name:  
• Russia (English)
• Rossiya (Russian)
Full Official Name: 
• Russian Federation (English)
• Rossiyskaya Federatsiya (Russian)
Capital: Moscow

February 11, 2023

Ukrainian shelling in Russia’s western Kursk region reportedly left one civilian dead and one wounded.

In the northeast, Ukrainian forces withdrew from a settlement north of Synkivka, while Russian forces did not enter the remainder of the village, but continued advancing in its outskirts.

In the east, Wagner fighters seized most of Krasna Hora, while continuing combing operations. They would secure the settlement the next day, February 12.

February 12, 2023

In the northeast, Ukrainian forces advanced southeast of Makiivka (see close-up map).

In the east, Wagner forces advanced into the north of a settlement west of Krasna Hora, as well as south of it. The settlement was then semi-surrounded, with Ukrainian troops withdrawing through only one remaining supply route. Elsewhere, Russian forces continued to advance in Marinka, capturing a police station amid heavy house-to-house fighting.

February 13, 2023

In the east, Wagner Forces reached the Bakhmut-Sloviansk highway, physically cutting off the road, while they also advanced west of Soledar. This left both western highways running into Bakhmut under Russian control and Ukrainian troops with only one supply line through a back road. Meanwhile, Russian forces captured most or all of a village northeast of Avdiivka. Overall, Russia said that its forces had advanced two kilometers (1.2 miles) along the frontline over the past four days.

February 14, 2023

In the east, Russian forces captured part of a factory in the south of Marinka’s main avenue, as well as a factory and school to the north of the avenue, both of which they had previously taken and then lost again.

February 15, 2023

In the northeast, Russian forces claimed to have broken through Ukrainian lines in two areas on the Svatove-Kreminna frontline, advancing up to three kilometers (two miles).

In the east, Russian forces advanced significantly west of Soledar, while they also crossed the highway northwest of Bakhmut and advanced deeper into the settlement west of Krasna Hora. Meanwhile, Russian troops advanced in the northwestern outskirts of Marinka.

In the south, Ukrainian forces recaptured some positions south of Orikhiv that they had recently lost.

February 16, 2023

A fifth Frenchman was killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces. Since the start of the war, it had already been confirmed that deaths of foreign fighters from the Ukrainian side included 36 Georgians, 25 Azerbaijanis, 19 Belarussians, 12 Americans, six Britons, six Colombians, six Poles, five Russians, four Australians, four Swedes, three Brazilians, three Canadians, three Israelis, and two Canadians, as well as one citizen each of Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, and Taiwan. Meanwhile, foreign citizens killed fighting for the Russian army included 13 Kyrgyz, 12 citizens of self-declared South Ossetia (a Russia-backed de facto state claiming independence from Georgia), nine Tajiks, and one Moldovan. The Kyrgyz and Tajiks may have held dual Russian citizenship, while most South Ossetians do as well. Furthermore, four South Ossetians, one Colombian, one Italian, and one fighter from Abkhazia (the other Russia-backed de facto state claiming independence from Georgia) had been killed fighting as part of the DPR forces; one Italian, one Serbian, and one Slovakian as part of the LPR forces; and nine Syrians, one Belarusian, one Tanzanian, and one Zambian while working for a Russian private military contractor (PMC).

February 17, 2023

In the east, Wagner forces continued advancing in the settlement west of Krasna Hora and captured it later in the day. They also seized most of a hill overlooking another village to the southwest. Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops counterattacked west and southwest of Ivanivske and pushed back Russian troops from the Bakhmut-Kostiantynivka highway.

The Russian-language service of BBC News, in collaboration with Russian opposition news website Mediazona, reported that they had documented the deaths of 14,709 Russian soldiers and military contractors since the start of the invasion, though they conservatively estimated that the real death toll could be more than 29,500. The figures included 1,521 private military contractors (presumably from the Wagner Group, PMC Redut, and PMC Patriot, and including inmates from Russian prisons), but did not include killed members of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) forces. The Russian-language service of BBC News estimated that at least 5,000 DPR and more than 1,500 LPR soldiers may have died.

According to new US and UK estimates, between 175,000 and 200,000 Russian troops were thought to have been either killed or wounded, including regular soldiers, contractors, and DPR-LPR fighters. According to the UK, 40,000 to 60,000 troops had died (as opposed to just being wounded), while the US said the overall casualty toll including injuries included 30,000 Wagner Group fighters, around 9,000 of which were fatalities. In addition, Norway estimated, as of January 22, that close to 180,000 Russian troops and more than 100,000 Ukrainian servicemen had been either killed or wounded in the conflict, while around 30,000 civilians had died. The United States had also estimated that 100,000 Ukrainian servicemen had been killed or wounded as far back as early November 2022. The Telegraph newspaper reported up to 120,000 Ukrainian combatant casualties as of February 7.

The DPR reported that 4,409 civilians had been killed in its territories between the start of the invasion and January 9, 2023. The figure included those who had died in areas of Donetsk and Luhansk seized by Russian forces since the start of the invasion. It also reported that another 17 civilians had been killed since January 13, 2023. Meanwhile, the LPR reported that 169 civilians had died within its territory during 2022, along with 25 more in 2023.

February 18, 2023

In the east, Russian forces advanced in Bakhmut’s northern Stupka district, while also making advances in the outskirts of a village to the west of Stupka. They also advanced in eastern Bakhmut, entering the residential areas west of the industrial zone. In addition, Russian troops advanced north and northwest of Opytne, through Bakhmut’s southern suburbs and their outskirts. 

February 19, 2023

In the east, Russian forces continued advancing in eastern Bakhmut, bringing around 35 percent of the Zabakhmutka district under their control. They also advanced in the northern Stupka district, as well as in the outskirts of three villages in the northern and northwestern outskirts of the city, close to Ukraine’s last supply line.

February 20, 2023

Ukrainian shelling of Russia’s western Belgorod region, across the border from Kharkiv, reportedly left two civilians dead and one wounded. Previously, on January 24, Belgorod’s governor had said 25 civilians had been killed and 96 injured in the region by Ukrainian shelling since the start of the conflict.

In the east, Russian forces continued advancing in Bakhmut’s northern Stupka district, while also entering and seizing part of a nearby village.

In the south, following a Ukrainian counterattack, Russian troops withdrew from the southern and eastern outskirts of Vuhledar.

February 21, 2023

In the east, Ukrainian forces recaptured most of the positions around Bilohorivka that they had lost on February 4. Elsewhere, Russian forces made a small advance towards a village north of Yakovlivka (see close-up map). Around the same time, in the northern outskirts of Bakhmut, Russian troops advanced into the center of a village, while being pushed out of the other nearby one that they had entered the previous day. Russian artillery also destroyed a bridge in Bakhmut that ran across a river dividing the western and eastern parts of the city. Meanwhile, Russian forces made small advances along the frontline between Pisky (see close-up map) and Vodyane, towards Pervomaiske (see close-up map).

The United Nations reported that at least 8,006 civilians had been killed since the start of the invasion, including at least 510 in territory controlled by the DPR and LPR and six in Russian-controlled Crimea. The organization also reported that 30 civilians had been killed within Russia itself and two in Poland, in border areas with Ukraine.

Ukraine claimed that 1,381 civilians had been killed in Donetsk province since the start of the invasion, not including those who had died in Mariupol and Volnovakha.

Note: PolGeonow has found confirmation that Snake Island in the Black Sea is under Ukrainian control after Russian forces, which had seized it on the first day of the invasion, withdrew from the island on June 30, 2022. At the time, the Ukrainian military had stated that it was “too early” to re-occupy the island. One week after the Russian withdrawal, a Ukrainian unit had landed on the island, but left the same day due to a Russian missile attack. Russian missile strikes on the island were said to be still taking place periodically, while Russian naval vessels were also in the vicinity, leading us to mark it with the “mixed/unclear” symbol on previous versions of our map. But it recently came to our attention that CNN journalists visited the island in December 2022, reporting that it was “firmly in Ukrainian hands”.

Stay tuned to PolGeoNow for more updates to this map and timeline as events progress!

Interested in Russian military involvement outside of Russia? Check out our reports from last year on conflicts in Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Central African Republic, and Syria.

Graphics of the Ukrainian flag (source) and Russian flag (source) are in the public domain.