It has now been six months since Russia’s escalation of the war in Ukraine. Some political leaders, concerned with instability in Europe, food shortages, rising energy prices and the deepening cost-of-living crisis, have called on Ukraine and Russia to agree to a return to the status quo before the invasion, or even a “pause” in the war, essentially leaving Ukraine without full control of its territory.
Russia currently occupies approximately 116,000 sq km of Ukrainian territory, as of 12 September. The New Statesman has built an interactive map to show what an area of that size would look like when compared to other countries or territories.
In May, Henry Kissinger, the former US secretary of state, told an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos that negotiations should lead to a return to how things were before the invasion in February, implying that Ukraine should cede Crimea and the Donbas, in the east, to Russia. The editorial board of the New York Times has similarly said that Ukraine might have to make “painful territorial decisions” for the sake of peace.
Perhaps nothing has sparked more confusion and anger in Ukraine than the French president Emmanuel Macron’s comment to a group of French journalists that Russia must not be humiliated.
When Macron made a similar argument last month Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, responded on Italian television: “We are not ready to save someone’s face paying with our territories, I don’t think it’s fair.” He called the suggestion “wasted time”.
The Ukrainian land occupied by Russia is equivalent to about a fifth of French territory, including French Guiana. It would be 39 per cent of Italy, whose prime minister, Mario Draghi, has pushed for a ceasefire which could lead to Ukrainian territorial losses.
The occupied parts of Ukraine also make up the equivalent of nearly a third (32 per cent) of Germany or nearly half (48 per cent) of the UK.
[See also: Why China won’t ditch Vladimir Putin]