- Zelensky says troops have recaptured towns and villages
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KIEV (Reuters) – Russian state television aired an interview on Monday admitting that Kyiv had achieved a “substantial victory” after Ukrainian forces broke through lightning-fast front lines.
The breakthrough of Ukrainian forces near Kharkov was the fastest advance reported by both sides in recent months and marked the greatest momentum in the war since Russian forces abandoned their devastating assault on the capital Kyiv in March. It was one of the changes.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the army had “liberated dozens of settlements” and regained more than 1,000 square kilometers (385 square miles) of territory in the Kharkov region in the east and Kherson in the south.
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Western military analysts say the advance puts Ukrainians in close proximity to the main railroad that Moscow relies on to keep troops in eastern Ukraine, putting thousands of Russian troops at risk of being cut off. said that there is a possibility that
Russia’s Ministry of Defense has released a video showing its troops rushing to reinforce the area after a day of little to no response.
“The very fact that we have breached our defenses is already a real victory for the Ukrainian army,” said Russian state television in an interview with Vitaly Ganchev, head of the occupation government Russia has installed in Kharkov province. . Russian law prohibits all reporting of disputes on official accounts.
Zelenskiy posted a video of Ukrainian soldiers announcing they have captured the eastern town of Balaklya, along a front extending south of Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkov. The Ukrainian military said he advanced nearly 50 kilometers along its lines after an attack that appeared to take Russian forces by surprise.
The Kremlin declined to comment on the advance and referred questions to the Russian military.
Such rapid progress has been largely unknown since Russia abandoned its attack on Kyiv in March.
Ukraine does not allow independent journalists to enter the area to ascertain the extent of its advances, but a Ukrainian news website said the name of a town previously controlled by Russia was written on it. It features a photo of troops cheering from armored vehicles as they pass road signs.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at a press conference in Prague with the Czech Defense Secretary, “It is very encouraging that we are seeing success in Kherson and we are seeing success in Kharkov.”
The Institute of War Studies think tank said Ukrainians are now within just 15 kilometers of Kupiansk, a junction on the main railway line that Russia has relied on to supply troops on the eastern battlefield.
Moscow has long used its superiority in firepower to advance slowly by bombarding towns and villages. But that tactic relies on his daily tons of ammunition arriving by train from western Russia to the front lines.
The Ukrainian General Staff said early on Friday that retreating Russian troops were trying to evacuate wounded and damaged military equipment near Kharkov.
“Thanks to skillful and coordinated actions, Ukrainian forces, with the support of the local population, advanced almost 50 km in three days.”
Zelensky’s aide Kirilo Tymoshenko posted a picture of a Ukrainian soldier posing with a detained and blindfolded plainclothes prisoner. Tymoshenko identified the prisoner as the captured chieftain of the Russian-installed Ivanivka regime, a village deep within formerly Russian-controlled territory.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed, millions have been forced from their homes, and the Russian The army destroyed the entire city. Russia denies intentionally targeting civilians.
In a recent reported strike against civilians, Ukrainian officials said Russia opened fire across the border and attacked a hospital in northeastern Sumy on Friday morning, destroying buildings and injuring people. Reuters could not independently confirm the report.
The center of Kharkiv, which regularly comes under shelling from Russia, was hit by Russian rocket fire, injuring 10 people, including three children, Governor Olev Sinekhbov said. Rockets hit children’s art centers, schools and private homes, Mayor Ihor Terekhov wrote in his Telegram.
Ukraine’s surprise breakthrough in the east comes a week after Kiev announced the launch of a long-awaited counteroffensive in the southern province of Kherson, hundreds of kilometers away from the front line.
Ukrainian officials say Russia has moved thousands of troops south to meet Kherson’s advance, exposing other parts of the front line and creating an opportunity for a blitzkrieg.
“We have discovered the weak points of the enemy’s unpreparedness,” presidential adviser Oleksiy Arrestovich said in a video posted on YouTube.
So far not much information has come out about the campaign in the south, as Ukraine has kept journalists at bay and published few details.
Ukraine is attacking Russian rear positions using new Western-supplied artillery and rockets with the aim of trapping thousands of Russian troops on the west bank of the wide Dnipro River and cutting off supplies. .
Arestovych admitted that progress in the South had not yet been as rapid as the sudden breakthrough in the East.
Russian state news agency RIA reported that Russian-appointed Kherson authorities said some Ukrainian troops had been captured during the counterattack and some of the Polish tanks they were using were destroyed. Reuters could not confirm these reports.
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Reported by Reuters Reporter Written by Peter Graf Edited by Philippa Fletcher
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