Ukrainian troops advance after Russia’s collapse in the northeast

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  • Ukraine says it is taking back 20 more settlements in one day
  • Britain says Moscow probably ordered a retreat across the river
  • Months of Russian gains unraveled in days

KYIV/KHARKIV, Ukraine, September 12 (Reuters) – Ukrainian forces swept through territory seized from fleeing Russian troops on Monday as Moscow grappled with the aftermath of the collapse of its occupation force in the north- east of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s General Staff said Monday morning that its forces had retook more than 20 towns and villages in the past day, after Russia admitted it was abandoning Izium, its main stronghold in northeastern Ukraine. ‘Ukraine.

“They are under full control and stabilization measures are underway,” the General Staff said of the newly recaptured settlements.

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As thousands of Russian troops abandoned their positions, leaving behind huge stockpiles of ammunition and equipment, Russia fired missiles at power stations on Sunday, causing blackouts in Kharkiv and adjacent areas from Poltava and Sumy.

Ukraine denounced what it described as retaliation against civilian targets for its military advances. On Monday morning, Reuters reporters in Kharkiv said power had been restored, although the water was not yet running. The regional governor said power had been restored to 80%. Moscow, which denies deliberately hitting civilian targets, did not comment.

The British Ministry of Defense said Russia had likely ordered its forces to withdraw from the entire Kharkiv region west of the Oskil River, abandoning the main supply route that had supported Russian operations there. ‘is.

Kyiv, which reached the Oskil when it seized the railroad town of Kupiansk on Saturday, suggested Russia was already retreating even further: the Ukrainian General Staff said Russian troops had abandoned Svatove in Lugansk province, about 20 km (12 miles) east of the Oskil. Reuters could not confirm this.

The British ministry said forces from Moscow were also struggling to bring supplies to the front line in the south, where Ukraine has launched a major advance in Kherson province aimed at isolating thousands of Russian troops on the west bank of the Dnipro.

“The majority of the (Russian) force in Ukraine is most likely forced to prioritize emergency defensive actions,” the UK update said. “The rapid Ukrainian successes have important implications for Russia’s overall operational design.”

TO UNVEIL

Ukraine’s fastest advance since ousting Russian forces from the capital in March has turned the tide of the six-month war, undoing much of the gains Moscow had made in days. months of costly fighting in the east.

Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said his troops had recaptured more than 3,000 km2 (1,160 sq mi) this month, advancing within 50 km (30 miles) of the border with Russia .

Further Russian retreats, especially east of the Oskil, could soon put Ukrainian forces in a position to attack territory that Russia and its local proxies have held since 2014.

Denis Pushilin, head of the pro-Russian separatist proxy administration in Donetsk province, acknowledged the pressure from multiple directions.

“At the very least we have stopped the enemy in Lyman,” he said in a Telegram post overnight, referring to a frontline town east of Izium. “We’ll have to see how it develops. But our boys have had clear successes.”

He also described “successes” in the fighting at Bakhmut, where Russia had long focused its offensive, and at Vuhledar further south.

Moscow has so far remained largely silent since its front line collapsed in the northeast last week, with President Vladimir Putin and his senior officials refraining from commenting on the ‘special military operation’. which they always said was “going to be planned”.

After days without any reference to the retreat, the Russian Defense Ministry admitted on Saturday that it had abandoned Izium and neighboring Balakliia, in what it called a pre-planned “regrouping” to fight in Donetsk.

Russian broadcasters, required by law to report only official accounts, hinted at the setbacks but struggled to explain them, with commentators mostly demanding a redoubled war effort.

“We must win the war in Ukraine! We must liquidate the Nazi regime! said a commentator during a panel on NTV television.

“And how many years is that supposed to take?” replied another. “So my 10-year-olds will have a fighting chance?”

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Reporting by Reuters journalists; Written by Peter Graff; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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