Kharkiv: Ukraine said on Sunday that its troops were pushing back Russian forces from a strategic holdout in the country’s east after Moscow announced its withdrawal from a full-scale counteroffensive in Kyiv. said the last reactor at the Zaporizhia plant, controlled by , is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant and has become the focus of the conflict.
The speed of Ukraine’s counterattack to Russian aggression has clearly caught the Russian military off guard, returning territory that Russia had controlled for months to Ukrainian territory. Images posted by the Ukrainian military showed boxes of dumped munitions and abandoned military hardware littering the territory left by Russian forces.
“The liberation of settlements in the Kupiansk and Izyum districts of the Kharkiv region is underway,” the Ukrainian military said in a general battlefield update on Sunday, 200 days after the Russian invasion. These are the vital supply and logistical hubs Russia relies on to replenish front-line positions in the East. Military observers say their capture by Ukraine would deal a serious blow to Russia’s military ambitions in Kharkiv.
“Weapons, Weapons, Weapons”
A Ukrainian military commander said early Sunday morning that as much as 3,000 square kilometers (1,158 square miles) of land had been taken from Russia since the offensive began earlier this month. The figure is already about a third larger than the total area announced by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy late Saturday. On Sunday, he announced that Ukrainian forces had occupied about 4,000 villages between Kharkov and Izm. We will expel the occupiers from all towns and villages in Ukraine,” he said in a video online.
Ukrainian officials have praised the “amazing” pace of the counterattack this weekend, and on Sunday the country’s foreign minister used the momentum to appeal to Western allies to increase their stockpiles of sophisticated weapons. “Weapons, weapons, weapons have been on our agenda since spring. We are grateful to our partners for responding to our call. Success on the Ukrainian battlefield is something we share.” “Rapid supply brings victory and peace closer,” read his statement on social media.
So far, the reaction in Moscow to Ukrainian interests has been lukewarm, but an official in the Belgorod border region said on Sunday that “thousands” of people had fled across the border into Russia from the Kharkov region. More than 1,000 people are being held in makeshift shelters, said official Vyacheslav Gladkov. Meanwhile, the Russian military made a surprise announcement on Saturday that it would “reorganize” its forces in the Donetsk region just south of Kharkov, concentrating its forces there. But the announcement came shortly after Moscow said it was indeed sending reinforcements to Kharkov, around Balaklya, one of the first towns he recaptured by Ukrainian forces, according to AFP journalists. saw evidence of heavy fighting.
Irina Stepanenko, 52, who went out cycling for the first time in months, said she hid in the basement for three months. “There was a lot of terror, like shelling. It was horrible,” she said of Russia’s takeover of the town, which was home to about 27,000 people before the invasion, and Ukraine’s attempt to recapture it. He said he was relieved to see Kyiv forces retake the town, but was still worried about the future. I’m worried.”
Despite reported Ukrainian gains, Russian forces have continued to shell across the front, and in the Donetsk area, the shelling killed 10 people and wounded another 19, officials said. A nuclear accident comparable to the Chernobyl nuclear accident in northern Ukraine in 1986.
Ukraine’s state-run Atomic Energy Agency said on Sunday that the plant’s sixth and final reactor had been shut down and moved to cold shutdown instead. Energoatom said the sixth reactor had been generating the plant’s own energy for three days, and the decision had been made to shut it down when offsite power was restored to the facility. But he warned again that the only way to secure the facility was to create a demilitarized zone around it.