Ukraine has become a sacred cause, beyond the bounds of compromise: Gerard Toal: IT 040622

A woman walks in front of a building destroyed by a strike in the city of Lysytsansk at the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. Photograph: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is now 101 days old and counting. What began as a rapid regime change operation has devolved into a grinding war of attrition to seize territory in the east and south of Ukraine. Before the latest invasion, the Russian state controlled just over 7 per cent of internationally recognised Ukrainian soil. In annexing Crimea, it had rebranded approximately 4.5 per cent as Russia. Today Russia occupies about 20 per cent of Ukraine. To put that number in perspective, Russia has seized more than the total area of the Republic of Ireland since February 24. The amount is increasing, slowly but surely. All indications are that Russia plans to annex this land after staging a propaganda camera-ready referendum this summer.

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