NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday confirmed that Russian forces currently occupy 20 percent of Ukraine.
In an area of more than 48,000 sq ft in eastern and southern Ukraine – roughly the size of North Carolina – Russian soldiers continue their brutal campaign.
Zelenskyy said that roughly 116,000 square miles are also “bestrewn with mines and unexploded ordnance.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” began nearly 100 days ago and Kremlin officials have said they will seek to gain “full control” over eastern and southern Ukraine.
‘UKRAINIANS HAVE THE WILL TO PUSH BACK’ RUSSIANS: GEN. KEANE
Intense fighting continues to rage in the Donbas where Russian forces have launched a ground offensive in the attempt to completely occupy Luhansk.
Two cities stand in the way of total Russian control in the northeastern region, head of the separatist forces there told Russian media Thursday.
The cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, located right next to one another but separated by the Siverskyi Donets River, are the final holdouts for Ukrainian resistance in the region.
Head of the Russian-backed Luhansk People’s Republic, Leonid Pasechnik, said that occupying forces controlled roughly one-third of the city.
But the U.K.’s defense ministry on Thursday said Russian forces had gained control over “most” of Sievierodonetsk.
UKRAINIAN FIRST LADY SAYS RELINQUISHING TERRITORY IS ‘LIKE CONCEDING FREEDOM’
“The Russian army has already destroyed almost the entire Donbas. Once one of the most powerful industrial centers in Europe is simply devastated,” Zelenskyy said Thursday. “The occupiers are destroying it city after city.”
Full occupation of the Luhansk region would allow Russian troops to not only push west into the Donetsk region but likely further into the war-torn nation.
Ukrainian officials have long warned that Russia may try to make another attempt for Kyiv in order to completely dominate the country.
The Ukrainian president said Kyiv has recorded the loss of at least 14,000 people, but it is unclear if he was including Ukrainian troop casualities as well.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The defense ministry has claimed the loss of nearly 31,000 Russian soldiers since the war began, though these figures have not been verified.
“We still don’t even know exactly how many of our people were killed by the occupiers. At least tens of thousands – tens of thousands in a little less than 100 days,” he said.