"Hell under the Russian flag": Ukrainians recapture majority of occupied territories

In the fight against the invaders, Ukraine reaches a milestone.

"Hell under the Russian flag": Ukrainians recapture majority of occupied territories

In the fight against the invaders, Ukraine reaches a milestone. Nevertheless, the situation in many parts of the country is desperate. The energy supply is limited. In some places, according to President Zelensky, "there hasn't been a living space that hasn't been damaged by shells for a long time."

The Ukrainian army has now recaptured more than half of the territory occupied since the February 24 Russian invasion. According to British calculations, Ukraine has so far regained control of 54 percent of the parts of the country occupied by Russia since February 24. Including Crimea, which was annexed in 2014, Russia still controls 18 percent of Ukrainian territory, according to the British Ministry of Defense.

According to other observers, Ukraine had already reached the 50 percent mark in recapturing the occupied territories in the past few weeks. The Ukrainian military has been on the offensive since spring. In doing so, they had pushed back the Russian army from the areas north and north-east of the capital Kiev. In the autumn, the Ukrainian armed forces succeeded in first driving the Russian army back behind their own border in the Kharkiv area and finally in advancing across a wide area in the Donbass. Finally, in October, Russia had to give up the areas west of the Dnipro River in the Cherson region.

Despite the military successes, the situation in many parts of Ukraine is becoming increasingly difficult. With its invasion of Ukraine, the Russian army brought "hell under the Russian flag" into the country, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The situation is "very difficult," especially in the frontline areas of the Donbass in eastern Ukraine, he said in his recent video address. Zelenskyj listed the focal points of Bakhmut, Soledar and Kremnina. There hasn't been any living space in these areas for a long time that wasn't damaged by shells. In addition, the city of Bakhmut was destroyed by the occupying forces. "Another Donbass city that the Russian army turned into a burnt ruin," said Zelenskyy.

Selenskyj advisor Mykhailo Podoliak had previously described the situation around Bakhmut as "hell on earth" from the Ukrainian point of view. Away from what is happening at the front, Ukraine is continuing to work towards one day holding Russia legally accountable for the invasion and its consequences. "We feel supported by states as well as by international organizations and human rights institutions," said Zelenskyj. Kiev has offered Britain a leading role in efforts to create a special court modeled on the Nuremberg tribunal.

Because of the Russian attacks on the Ukrainian power grid, people can expect power cuts throughout the winter. Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal said this at a cabinet meeting. Although the situation is currently "under control", there are still shortcomings in the power supply due to the damage. "All thermal and hydroelectric power plants in the country were damaged." In addition, around 40 percent of the high-voltage grid systems were damaged to varying degrees. "Therefore, power supply constraints are still significant in most regions."

The Russian missile attacks of the past few weeks have targeted Ukraine's entire energy infrastructure. As a result, the electricity supply collapsed in large parts of the country. In the meantime, it has been possible to supply the population with electricity at least by the hour.