Russia sends reinforcements to Kharkiv to repel Ukraine counterattack

Moscow is sending columns of military reinforcements to Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, according to Russian media reports, after the first major Ukrainian counterattack since spring made big territorial gains this week.

Ukrainian troops have driven Russian forces from a number of settlements in the region Moscow has occupied since the early days of its invasion, and on Friday the Ukrainian army appeared to continue its rapid advance.

A Russian-installed official in the occupied part of the Kharkiv region admitted that Moscow’s troops were retreating. “The very fact of a breach in our defenses is already a substantial victory for the Ukrainian armed forces,” Vitaly Ganchev told state television.

Ganchev said “heavy battles” were underway near the town of Balakliia, retaken by Ukraine on Thursday. “We do not control Balakliia. Attempts are made to dislodge the Ukrainian forces, but the fighting is fierce and our troops are held up at the approaches.

For weeks, Ukrainian officials had telegraphed plans for a planned counterattack in the southern Kherson region, but instead the main focus of this week’s counterattack was Kharkiv in the north- is, taking everyone, apparently including the Russians, by surprise.

Moscow responded on Friday by firing rockets into the center of the city, according to local officials, who said at least 10 people, including three children, were injured in an attack that President Volodymyr’s chief of staff Zelenskiy condemned as revenge for Ukrainian success on The Battlefield.

“For every success of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, for every victory, the Russians…respond with strikes on innocent people,” Andriy Yermak wrote on Telegram, confirming that children were among the injured. The rockets hit a children’s arts center and a school, as well as private homes, Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said.

The next big Ukrainian target will probably be the city of Kupyansk. On Thursday, Russian occupation authorities said they planned to evacuate women and children from Kupiansk, citing Ukrainian artillery strikes on the city.

A photograph shared on social media on Friday appeared to show Ukrainian forces at one of the city’s entrances, posing with a Ukrainian flag. The photograph could not be immediately verified.

The Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think tank, said Ukrainian forces could retake the city within the next three days. Taking the city would sever communication links between the occupied areas and “hinder Russian efforts to support offensive and defensive operations”, the institute said.

Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address on Thursday that Ukrainian forces had retaken more than 1,000 km2 of territory from the Russians since early September.

“Our heroes have already liberated dozens of colonies. And today this movement continues, there are new results,” the president said.

Zelenskiy’s adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said the successful counteroffensive showed that Ukraine had “proven its ability to deoccupy its territories” and was capable of using weapons supplied to Kyiv by Western countries.

“There will be no freezing of the conflict” Podoliak tweeted.

Senior US officials expressed approval of the Ukrainian advance. “We see Ukraine making real and demonstrable progress in a deliberate way,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, speaking Friday at NATO headquarters in Brussels, the day after his surprise visit to Kyiv.

Blinken, however, cautioned against being too optimistic and warned that the fighting was likely to drag on for some time. “There are a lot of Russian forces that are in Ukraine, and unfortunately, tragically, horribly, President Putin has demonstrated that he’s going to throw a lot of people in there at huge cost to Russia,” he said. -he declares.

William Burns, the head of the CIA, said that Vladimir Putin had underestimated both the Ukrainian resolve and that of the international community.

“Putin’s bet right now is that he’s going to be tougher than the Ukrainians, the Europeans, the Americans…I believe, and my CIA colleagues believe, that Putin is as wrong on that bet as he is. was deeply mistaken in his assumptions last February about Ukraine’s willingness to resist,” Burns said at a conference in Washington, in comments reported by The New York Times.

“Not only has the weakness of the Russian military been exposed…but there will be long-term damage to the Russian economy and to generations of Russians,” he said.

Putin, speaking this week, claimed Russia had ‘lost nothing’ in Ukraine’s six-month war, but Russian nationalists were alarmed at Ukraine’s military successes this week.

Some Russian military commentators criticized their military for not giving enough warning to Balaklia residents that they would withdraw, leaving their local accomplices to face the wrath of Ukrainian authorities.

Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s minister for the temporarily occupied territories, announced on Friday that Kyiv would create an agency for the unoccupied territories to coordinate the different branches of state and government in the regions.

“[The agency] will mean that the divestiture and then the reintegration will be done as efficiently and quickly as possible,” Verechshuk told Ukrainian television.

She said there had been an increase in calls to a government hotline for people in the occupied territories who wanted to leave, but there were no official humanitarian corridors agreed with Russia.

“We wrote to Russia to open humanitarian corridors but received a refusal, so we call on the IAEA, the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to force Russia to open humanitarian corridors,” he said. said Vereshchuk.

Currently, there are only about three crossing points along the front lines for the millions of civilians living in the occupied areas. People wait for days in queues, often surrounded by shelling.

During the first months of the war, Russia agreed to open official corridors to allow mass evacuations from occupied areas such as the Kyiv region and Mariupol, but only after weeks of pressure from international leaders and the UN.

#Russia #sends #reinforcements #Kharkiv #repel #Ukraine #counterattack

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.