Ukraine in maps: Tracking the war with Russia (2024)

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By the Visual Journalism Team

BBC News

Fighting has been raging in Ukraine for two years since Russia's invasion, with Moscow's forces edging forwards in recent weeks after months of virtual stalemate.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Russian forces have made advances north and north-east of Kharkiv, the second biggest city in Ukraine

  • Russia has also intensified attacks along the eastern front since April although its advances have been described as minor

Russia advancing north of Kharkiv

Russian forces have crossed the international border to the north of Ukraine's second biggest city Kharkiv and have made what analysts are calling "tactically significant advances".

US-based analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) say they have advanced in northern areas of the town of Vovchansk and appear to have taken control of Vovchansk Central District Hospital. They have also made small gains in the village of Starytsia and have advanced closer to the village of Lyptsi to the west.

Russia has intensified its attacks on the region following Friday's surprise incursions across the border, seizing several villages and settlements in one of the most significant ground attacks since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.

Vovchansk, located 74km (45 miles) from Kharkiv, has been heavily bombed in recent days. While it is a significant town in the region, Vovchansk is not of specific military importance, though its capture would be a blow to Ukrainian morale.

However, Ukrainian officials say they are stabilising the situation and that the tempo of Russian operations in the area is decreasing.

Thousands of civilians have fled towards Kharkiv and there are concerns among Ukrainian commanders about what could happen if Russian troops get within artillery-range of the city.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) assessment is that Russia is "almost certainly attempting to divert Ukrainian resources away from other parts of the front line", but adds: "It is unlikely that Russia has built up sufficient combat power to take the city (Kharkiv) without diverting additional forces into the area."

But BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale, who is in the area, says it will be hard to dislodge the Russian forces in the region and that there are believed to be about 30,000 more troops just over the border.

Russian progress in the east

The incursion is some miles from the main front line to the east where Russia has continued its offensive operations and been edging forwards since October 2023.

The MoD noted that Russian attacks intensified further in April - up 17% from March - with more than three quarters on the areas around the towns of Avdiivka and Bakhmut.

Russia had a notable success in the town of Avdiivka where Ukrainian troops withdrew in February after months of fighting. Russian forces are now in control of what remains of the town and pushing west.

Avdiivka, which would have been a possible gateway for Ukraine to reach the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk, has been a battlefield town since 2014, when Russian-backed fighters seized large swathes of the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Almost all of Avdiivka's pre-war population of more than 30,000 people have left and the town itself is almost completely destroyed.

Its fall marked the biggest change on the more than 1,000km-long (620-mile) front line since Russian troops seized the nearby town of Bakhmut in May 2023.

Battle for Bakhmut

Bakhmut itself remains a flashpoint and has endured some of the heaviest fighting of the war.

However, although Ukraine gained some ground in the surrounding areas over the summer, Russian forces have since made advances around the city. The ISW reports that territory to the west and south of the town continues to change hands.

The MoD said attacks on Chasiv Yar, which is situated on high ground to the west of Bakhmut, rose by 200% from March to April and that Russia was probably trying to gain control of the town.

"Despite the substantial increase in attacks on this axis, Russia made only minor tactical gains in the area during April and almost certainly sustained heavy losses," the MoD added.

Two years 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 Dominic Bailey, Mike Hills, Paul Sargeant, Tural Ahmedzade, Chris Clayton, Kady Wardell, Mark Bryson, Sana Dionysiou, Gerry Fletcher, Kate Gaynor, Filipa Silverio and Erwan Rivault

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, external with the American Enterprise Institute's Critical Threats Project, external. To show key areas where advances are taking place we are also using updates from the UK Ministry of Defence, external 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.

Related Topics

  • War in Ukraine
  • Volodymyr Zelensky
  • Russia
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Ukraine
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