Russia pulls troops back amid Ukraine’s biggest counteroffensive in months | International
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In what is a major military blow, Moscow has ordered its men to withdraw in the Kharkov region, in eastern Ukraine. kyiv sings as victory for the largest and fastest advance of its troops after months in which the lines that separated the two armies have remained stalemated. That withdrawal, although the Russian Defense Ministry sells it as a strategic move to establish positions in Donbas, represents the greatest loss of ground since President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of the neighboring country on February 24.
Local authorities say that their flag has been raised again in Kupiansk, in Russian hands since March. It is a strategic railway junction for logistical support from Moscow to its men and for their permanence in that area of Ukraine. Meanwhile, pro-Russian sources acknowledge that Kremlin soldiers have left Izium, another strategic point in Kharkov. Social network accounts of members of the Ukrainian Executive showed photos of their victorious soldiers at the entrance to that town. The British Ministry of Defense confirms the effectiveness of the Ukrainian counteroffensive and the danger that these latest moves pose to Russia’s plans.
Before the Kremlin recognized its withdrawal, the Ukrainian Army assured that it is making important advances in the east of the country, as reported by President Volodímir Zelenski, local authorities and military sources. In the last few hours, announcements have been made about the terrain that his troops are gaining, the towns that they are recovering in the Kharkov region and how the Russian invaders have no choice but to escape.
At the same time, social networks are filled with publications in which Ukrainian soldiers appear allegedly raising the national flag or singing the anthem in chorus in towns that have been in the hands of Kremlin troops for months. In some of the videos, local people are seen tearfully welcoming and hugging the newly arrived soldiers. Acts of recovery of squares such as the one in Balakliia, recorded by the soldiers themselves and subsequently broadcast on the internet, are also improvised.
“In order to achieve the objectives set with the Special Military Operation for the liberation of Donbas (as Russia calls the invasion of Ukraine), it has been decided to regroup the Russian troops located in the Balakliia and Izium districts in order to increase efforts in the Donetsk address,” the Russian Defense Ministry reported, Reuters quoted Russia’s Tass as saying.
These are almost always militarily closed zones to which the media are not usually allowed access and where it is not easy to independently confirm the real scope of this information and in the hands of who each position is left. In any case, the British Ministry of Defense, which permanently monitors the situation, confirms these advances by the Ukrainian Army, which has hit the Russian “by surprise”.
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The most critical Eastern front line would currently be located around the towns of Kupiansk and Izium, strategic points for supplying the Russian troops and for the control that the Kremlin has maintained for several months over most of the territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which make up the area known as Donbas. It is an industrial bastion that occupies the east of Ukraine, with a Russian-speaking population and that has been at war since 2014 when pro-Russian groups rose up against kyiv supported by Moscow.
After the counteroffensive launched since September 6, “Ukrainian units have captured or surrounded several cities”, they have managed to penetrate some 50 kilometers into the area occupied by Russian troops and, around the city of Izium, the Russian force is increasingly ” more isolated,” says UK Ministry of Defense in the report it publishes daily. The capture of another key point like Kupiansk by the local military “would be a significant blow to Russia because it is located on the supply routes to the Donbas front line.”
If kyiv manages to obstruct Russian communications around Izium and Kupiansk, this could facilitate the “collapse” of the Kremlin Army in the area, warns the Institute for the Study of War. Daniil Bezsonov, a pro-Russian leader in the Donetsk region, said on his Telegram social network account that Russian troops have withdrawn from Izium and other points in Kharkov, the daily reports. Kyiv Independent.
The Government of kyiv has reported that in these days they have managed to recover some 1,000 square kilometers that were in the hands of the enemy and that, in the Kharkov region alone, they have regained authority in some thirty localities, as President Volodímir Zelensky highlighted. in his speech on Friday. According to Armed Forces sources, a process then begins that is repeated in the towns and cities that are “liberated”: demining of the area, deployment of the Security Forces, including the Police, and investigation of the crimes committed under the Russian occupation.
In Hrakove, one of the reconquered villages, the Ukrainian police patrol and there are vehicles with the letter Z (symbol of the Russian invasion) burned in the streets as well as boxes of ammunition and garbage in the positions that the invading military occupied until recently. according to a reporter from the Reuters agency. “Hello everyone, we are from Russia”, he appears spray-painted on a wall and three bodies lay in a courtyard wrapped in white bags.
Meanwhile, in the diplomatic arena, for the first time a foreign president on an official visit to Ukraine during the war has spent the night in the capital, kyiv. This is the Latvian Egil Levits.
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