The Ukraine president used his Monday night address to declare progress in the east and south
Ukraine has retaken roughly 6,000 square km (2,400 square miles) of territory this month during its counteroffensive, Volodymyr Zelensky has claimed, as he urged foreign allies to swiftly supply more air defense systems.
The Ukraine president used his Monday night address to declare progress in the east and south, and that further gains were being made, as Kyiv pushed to take control of almost all of Kharkiv province.
The gains are a sliver of Ukraine’s overall land mass of about 600,000 square km, of which Russia has taken control of around a fifth, but US secretary of state Antony Blinken said on Monday that Ukrainian forces had made important progress.
It was seen significant progress by the Ukrainians, particularly in the north-east, and that is a product of the support it provided, but first and foremost it’s a product of the extraordinary courage and resilience of the Ukrainian armed forces and the Ukrainian people, Blinken told reporters in Mexico City.
Russia has admitted to losing key cities in the north-eastern Kharkiv region, in what is seen by some military experts as a potential breakthrough in the war.
Moscow describes its troop withdrawal from the region in recent days as a “regrouping” to focus on the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in Ukraine’s east.
That claim has been ridiculed even in Russia, with many social media users there describing the stated pull-out as “shameful”.
Speaking later on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Ukrainian forces had made “significant progress” in their counter-offensive, but added that it was too early to predict the outcome.
A spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence said Russian troops were surrendering a masse as they understand the hopelessness of their situation. A Ukrainian presidential adviser said there were so many POWs that the country was running out of space to accommodate them.
Blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flags fluttered over newly liberated towns across a wide swath of reclaimed land. The Ukrainian military said it had freed more than 20 settlements in 24 hours. In recent days Kyiv’s forces have captured territory at least twice the size of greater London, according to the British Defense Ministry.
The Russians were here in the morning. Then at noon, they suddenly started shouting wildly and began to run away, charging off in tanks and armored Vehicles,” Dmytro Hrushchenko, a resident of recently liberated Zaliznychne, a small town near the eastern front line, told Sky news.
Ukraine’s deputy interior minister accused fleeing Russian forces of burning official documents and concealing bodies in an attempt in the areas they controlled until last week.
The mood was jubilant across the country.
The British Defense Ministry said the retreat would likely further deteriorate the trust Russian forces have in their commanders and put Moscow’s troops on the back foot.
Still, the Kremlin struggled to respond to the defeat, it is the largest since its forces abandoned a botched attempt to capture Kyiv early in the war.
Late Monday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his troops have retaken more than 6,000 square kilometers (2,300 square miles) – an area more than twice the size of Luxembourg – in a matter of weeks. See also Russian Forces Targets Airfields in Western Ukraine