Ukraine Timelapse Map Video Shows How Much Russians Have Retreated

September has seen dramatic reversals for Vladimir Putin's armies in Ukraine, which have been forced out of almost all of the northern Kharkiv province west of the Oskil River, and are slowly losing ground around the southern city of Kherson.

In the north, Russian troops have been forced into headlong retreat, in some cases "abandoning half their equipment," with Ukraine capturing Russian tanks and arms depots along with the strategically vital city of Izium.

An interactive map produced by Newsweek, based on data from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), shows just how dramatically fortunes have changed since Russia launched its invasion on February 24.

The initial Russian offensive took place on three main axes. In the north, troops moved down from Russia's ally Belarus in a bid to capture Kyiv and decapitate Ukraine's leadership. In the north-east they made a bid to seize Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city.

Timelapse Map Shows Russian Army Retreated
In this combination image, a timelapse map video shows how much Russians have retreated in Ukraine and Timelapse Map Video Shows How Much Russians Have Retreated Ukrainian soldiers (Main image) sit atop a tank in Izium in eastern Ukraine on September 14, 2022, following a successful counter-offensive. Getty/Newsweek

To the south, Russian troops exploded out of Crimea—which Putin annexed in 2014—into southern Ukraine, initially making big gains. Further east, Russian forces attacked in the Donbas region, partly controlled by allied proxy states since 2014, but made slow progress in the teeth of entrenched Ukrainian positions.

According to the Washington D.C. based ISW, the initial Russian attack was relatively successful, approaching Kyiv from both the north-east and north-west and seizing a good chunk of Ukraine opposite Crimea, including the cities of Kherson and Melitopol. Mariupol, a key Black Sea city standing between Russia and an uncontested land bridge to Crimea, was under siege with Ukrainian troops holding out in the Azovstal steel plant until mid-May.

By March 25 Ukrainian troops had started to counterattack, particularly in the north around Kyiv. Russian forces became bogged down, with vulnerable supply chains, and by April 8 had withdrawn from the territory they occupied north of Kyiv and west of Kharkiv.

In April, May and June Russian troops launched offensive operations in the eastern Donbas region, but made only slow progress. They seized the strategically important city of Sievierodonetsk in mid-June, after fierce fighting which saw much of it leveled.

During June and July Ukrainian forces began successfully hitting Russian command posts and ammunition dumps behind the front lines with HIMARS, and other advanced weaponry provided by the west.

By late August they were ready to go on the offensive, initially making probing attacks around Kherson, isolated from the main Russian force south of the Dnieper River.

This was just a foretaste of what was to come, with Ukrainian troops breaking through Russian lines further north around Kharkiv, and liberating most of Kharkiv province from Putin's army.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has claimed his troops have captured about 2,400 square miles of territory in offensive operations since the beginning of September.