Ukraine: Russian troops forced out of key areas in Donbas
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Ukraine troops have pushed back Russia’s soldiers away from Kharkiv and forced the Russian military to retreat back towards positions on the border from where Vladimir Putin’s invasion on February 23 was launched. A US military analyst has pinpointed the strategic importance of the Ukrainian army’s counter-offensive for the wider battle in the key Donbas region, and branded the loss of territory in the Kharkiv areas as a “tremendous failure”
Retired US Army Major Mike Lyons told CNN: “The yellow on the map here shows the advances of the Ukraine military as they’ve gotten up every day to kill and capture and destroy Russian equipment.
“What’s happened is now is it’s now inoculated against any kind of artillery fire, so the city is somewhat safer now.
“But these yellow regions here now actually threatened Belgorod if they want to do artillery, but now let’s come and face east here.
“This is the next objective here, I believe for the Ukraine military as Russian forces are going to be forced now to leave Izum, places in the south in the Donbas region to come and reinforce this town Kupyanks, which is the major logistical supply point for where the Russians are getting logistics and communications coming in.”
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He added: “The fact that they have to withdraw from that main fight in the Donbas in this region here.
“They’re having some success here, Kramatorsk we know is that’s their primary objective.
“But the fact that they’ve got to take troops offline to this area to bring them back here.
“Tremendous failure from the military’s perspective!”
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Following days of advances north and east of the second largest city Kharkiv, Ukrainian forces were reportedly just several kilometres of the Russian border on Wednesday morning.
Before the advance, Russian forces had been on the outskirts of Kharkiv, a city 40 km from the frontier.
The advance appears to be the fastest that Ukraine has mounted since it drove Russian troops away from Kyiv and out of the country’s north at the beginning of April.
If sustained, it could let Ukrainian forces threaten supply lines for Russia’s main attack force, and even put rear logistics targets within Russia itself within range of Ukrainian artillery.
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On Wednesday evening, Ukraine’s general staff said its forces had captured Pytomnyk, a village on the main highway north of Kharkiv, about halfway to the Russian border.
The governor of the Russian region on the other side, Belgorod, said a village had been shelled from Ukraine, wounding one person.
Kyiv has so far confirmed few details about its advance through the Kharkiv region.
“We are having successes in the Kharkiv direction, where we are steadily pushing back the enemy and liberating population centres,” Brigadier General Oleksiy Hromov, Deputy Chief of the Main Operations Directorate of Ukraine’s General Staff, told a briefing, providing no specifics.
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