Russian troops are withdrawing from Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, after weeks of heavy bombardment setbacks in another battleground in Moscow.
The Ukrainian military said Saturday that the Russians were withdrawing from major northeastern cities and focused on guarding supply routes.
“The enemy’s main efforts are focused on ensuring the withdrawal of its troops from the city of Kharkiv,” a spokesman for the Ukrainian General Staff said.
Western officials also said Ukraine had driven back Russian troops from near Kharkiv, a prime target for Moscow’s forces.
The U.S.-based think tank the Institute for War Studies agrees with this assessment.
“In the past few days, with a few exceptions, Russian forces have generally made no attempt to stop the Ukrainian army’s counterattack,” it said. said.
“So Ukraine seems to have won the Battle of Kharkiv. Ukrainian troops prevented Russian troops from encircling, let alone occupying Kharkiv, and then drove them out of the city, just as they did to Russian troops trying to occupy Kyiv. do that.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the development in his daily video address. “The gradual liberation of the Kharkiv region proves that we leave no one to the enemy,” he said.
Intensive fighting is raging in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, where Russia has been concentrating its forces of late, but without making significant progress.
The fighting was fierce on the nearby Siversky Donets river Severo DonetskOlekhzhdanov, an independent Ukrainian military analyst, said Ukraine launched a counterattack there but failed to stop Russia’s advance.
“The fate of most of the Ukrainian army is being decided – about 40,000 Ukrainian soldiers [there],” He said.
Russian troops fail to capture capital Kyiv after February 24 invasion, President Vladimir Putin Turn your attention to the Donbassan industrial zone where Ukrainian troops have been fighting Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.
The head of military intelligence in Kyiv told Sky News on Saturday that the war in Ukraine could reach a “tipping point” in August and end with Russia’s defeat by the end of the year.
Major General Kerilo Budanov, 36, said he was “optimistic” about the current trajectory of the conflict.
“The breaking point will be in late August,” he said. “Most of the active combat operations will be completed by the end of this year. So we will restore power to Ukraine in all the territories we have lost, including Donbass and Crimea.”
Ukraine, Budanov said, “knows nothing about our enemies. We know their plans almost as soon as they make them.”
“Drowning the Russian occupiers”
Russian troops suffered heavy losses in a Ukrainian attack that destroyed a pontoon bridge they used to try to cross a river in the east, Ukrainian and British officials said, in another sign of Moscow’s efforts to salvage a lost war.
The Ukrainian Airborne Command released photos and videos of what it said were a damaged Russian pontoon bridge over the Donets River in Bilokhoriv, and several destroyed or damaged Russian military vehicles nearby.
– Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) May 11, 2022
Ukrainians said they destroyed at least 73 tanks and other military equipment during two days of fighting earlier this week. The command said its forces “drowned the Russian occupiers”.
The UK Ministry of Defence said Russia lost at least one battalion of “significant armoured maneuver units” in the attack. A Russian battalion tactical team consists of about 1,000 soldiers.
“The river crossing in a contested environment is a high-risk operation, which shows that Russian commanders are under pressure to make progress in operations in eastern Ukraine,” the ministry said in its daily intelligence update.
The battle for the Donbass has intensified since Russia’s failed capture of Kyiv, a battle that has become a daily routine as towns and villages change hands.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov welcomed heavy weapons from NATO countries to the front, but acknowledged the war would not end anytime soon.
“We are entering a new, protracted phase of war,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “Extremely difficult weeks await us. How many? No one can say for sure.”
Justin Crump, a former British tank commander and now a security adviser, said Moscow’s losses had forced it to scale back its targets in Ukraine. The Russians, he said, had to use hastily cobbled forces that were not trained together.
“It’s not going to be fast. So we settled for at least a summer of fighting. I think the Russian side is very clear that it’s going to take a long time,” he said.
“Obviously they’ve degraded, although they still have a lot of battalions and tactical groups in the area. They’ve downsized, their numbers have decreased…they’re getting less efficient and less effective.”
The battle for the Donbass turned into a village-by-village back-and-forth, with neither side making a major breakthrough and making little progress.
No one can predict how long the war will last, Zelensky said, but his country’s military has been making progress, including retaking six Ukrainian towns or villages in the past day.
Ukraine shot down Russia’s 200th plane of the war on Friday, Zelensky said, noting Russia’s heavy losses in tanks, armored vehicles, helicopters and drones.
Getting a full picture of the fighting going on in eastern Ukraine has been difficult because airstrikes and shelling make it extremely dangerous for journalists to move around.
Ukraine and Moscow-backed rebels fighting in the east have also imposed strict restrictions on reporting from war zones.
Russian Invasion Information
— Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) May 14, 2022