Russia claims to control more than 400 square kilometers of territory
Russian soldiers in the city of Avdeevka, Donetsk province on March 6. Photo: Russian Defense Ministry

Russia’s Defense Minister said the country controls an additional 403 square kilometers of territory and continues to push Ukrainian forces westward.

“After the failed counterattack, the enemy tried to hold certain lines and positions but failed to achieve any goals,” Russian Defense Minister General Sergey Shoigu said during a meeting with commanders. Army commander on April 2.

Mr. Shoigu said Russian forces took additional control of the residential areas of Orlovka, Tonenkoye, Krasnoye, and Mirnoye in Donetsk province over the past month. Russian forces continued to push Ukrainian units westward.

According to General Shoigu, since the beginning of the year, Russia has won an additional 403 square kilometers of territory in localities that the country announced to annex but did not fully control, including Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson.

“The Russian army is continuing to reduce the enemy’s combat power,” General Shoigu said. “Armed Forces of Ukraine have lost more than 80,000 troops and 14,000 weapons units, including more than 1,200 tanks and other types of armor.”

Mr. Shoigu said that despite not achieving results on the front lines, Ukraine still tried to convince the West of its ability to fight Russian forces. “To achieve this goal, Ukraine tried to bring the conflict to Russian territory, organizing attacks and shelling against civilians,” Minister Shoigu said.

Russian Army launched a response campaign, launching two large-scale raids and 190 local attacks against targets in Ukraine. The target of this operation is Ukraine’s military and energy infrastructure, according to General Shoigu.

Ukraine has not commented on the information given by the Russian Defense Minister.

After taking control of Avdeevka in mid-February, Russia launched many attacks on the 1,000 km long front line and made many advances. Meanwhile, the military aid package for Ukraine worth $60 billion is still stuck in the US Congress, and the transfer of artillery shells from Europe to this country is behind schedule.

The US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Ukraine “is facing material limitations to its defense capabilities”. ISW estimates that Russia controls 100,000 square kilometers, equivalent to about one-fifth of Ukraine’s territory.