Ukraine: Russian troops pushed to '9 miles from border'
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Ukrainian Commander, Ohor Obolenskiy, 35, has led a mixed group of National Guard and volunteers through four days of intense fighting and managed to seize Ruska Lozova on May 8. In doing so, the defending soldiers have managed to obstruct the plan of Russian forces to take Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.
From their trench, Mr Obolenskiy told Reuters: “We can see the Russian positions from here and say, ‘F**k you, Russians’.”
The successful counter-offensive for the village has been seen as a tipping point in the conflict and Ukraine’s most successful action since March, when they pushed back Russian troops from the north and from around Kyiv.
Mr Obolenskiy and his men were positioned three kilometres away from their enemies but believed that though they were being forced to stay in position, the Russian troops were withdrawing.
The men think that Russian troops were being redeployed to the south to bolster the offensive to take the Donbas region.
One of Obolenskiy’s lieutenants, named Mikhayl, said: “There is less shelling from the Russians.
“We think they are retreating.”
The Ukrainian troops are not ready to celebrate yet.
However, some media outlets are already claiming victory for Ukraine in the Battle of Kharkiv, despite losing two soldiers on Saturday.
There is also concern amongst the troops that the Russians will not be withdrawn for long and will come back fighting despite losses of equipment and troops.
Ukraine’s general staff said 27,200 Russian soldiers have died since the beginning of the conflict.
However, the British Government have the figure at 15,000.
Mikhayl said: “We think it’s possible that the Russians will come back.
“Putin will never forgive us.”
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He added: “It will be difficult for him to explain to the Russian people why his special operation is over.”
Several soldiers suggested that they wanted to fight in Russia following the emerging reports of war crimes committed by the Russian forces.
Mikhayl said: “I want to go all the way to Novosibirsk.
“The videos that I have seen of what they have done leave me no choice.”
Meanwhile, Obolenskiy is convinced that Russian President Vladimir Putin will find a way to justify escalation for the conflict.
He said: “Putin wants to start a war with NATO.”
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