The Russian army has withdrawn from its positions near Kharkivrefusing to storm Ukraine’s second largest city, but still trying to advance towards the donbas from the north, although so far with little success.
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“In Kharkiv the enemy has not carried out active military actions. It has focused its efforts on ensuring the withdrawal of its forces from the city, maintaining (…) supply lines,” reported the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army.
This region, bordering Russia, has become in recent days the symbol of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, whose objective is to liberate not only Kharkiv, but the entire area to avoid the encirclement of its troops in the north of Donetsk.
WITHDRAWAL TOWARDS THE RUSSIAN BORDER
“The gradual liberation of the Kharkiv region shows that we will not leave anyone in the hands of the enemy,” said Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, in his traditional evening speech.
According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the reason for the withdrawal is both the Ukrainian counteroffensive and the limited ability to receive reinforcements from the Russian side.
“Ukraine seems to have won the Battle of Kharkiv. The Ukrainian forces have prevented the Russian troops from encircling, let alone taking Kharkiv, and then expelled them from the outskirts of the city as they did when the Russians tried to conquer kyiv,” he notes.
Now, the Ukrainian troops should focus on breaking the Russian supply lines between the enemy stronghold of Izium and the neighboring Russian region of Belgorod.
The numerous river courses impede the progress of one another, especially the Severski Donets River, where the Russians reported this Saturday that they had blown up a pontoon where the Ukrainian troops were trying to advance.
“The Russians constantly hammered Kharkiv with artillery, since they were very close to the city. Thanks to the efforts of the territorial defense units and the Army, the Russians have left far from the city’s fringes in the direction of the border,” said Igor Terekhov, the city’s mayor.
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HEADING TO DONBAS
The Russian Ministry of Defense released today some images in which members of the airborne forces participate in an offensive, but without specifying the areas where it takes place.
In the last week Russian troops have made “little progress” in their attempt to attack the main Ukrainian square in Donetsk, Kramatorsk, according to the ISW.
According to the Ukrainian General Staff, the Russian artillery has not stopped hitting the towns that lead to the Sloviansk communications hub.
Russian generals appealed in vain to international organizations to evacuate both towns, where the Ukrainians would have created a fortified district.
The Russians continue to try to encircle the last two key cities under Ukrainian control in the Lugansk region, Severodonetsk and, to a lesser extent, Lisichansk, on both banks of the Severski Donets River.
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The fact is that the Ukrainian forces have also directed their counteroffensive against Izium, so time is running against the plans of the Russian Army.
“The hottest point is still the Izium area, where our forces have gone on the counterattack. The enemy is retreating in some areas,” said Oleg Sinegubov, head of Kharkiv’s military administration.
Ukraine today estimated casualties in the Russian ranks at 27,200 after the elimination of another 300 enemy soldiers in the last 24 hours, to which must be added more than 4,000 tanks and armored vehicles.
However, the adviser to the Minister of the Interior, Rostislav Smirnov, clarified that kyiv does not intend to rush into its counteroffensive and suffer many casualties, as happened with the Red Army, which lost hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the capture of Berlin during World War II. World.
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THIRD PHASE OF THE WAR
Zelensky received representatives of the US Congress on Saturday, whom he asked to tighten sanctions against Russia for the crimes it has committed on Ukrainian territory.
“Furthermore, we believe that Russia should be officially recognized as a country sponsor of terrorism. Such crimes have not been seen in Europe since World War II,” she said.
He recalled that the Russian “aggression”, which includes the blockade of Ukrainian ports, is causing a global food crisis.
Russian officials are openly threatening the world with famine in dozens of countries.
In turn, he acknowledged that he cannot predict how long the war will last, but that his priority is: “Quickly liberate our land and (…) work daily to make the war shorter.”
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The head of Ukrainian military intelligence, Kirill Budánov, was more daring, predicting to the British media that the key moment in the conflict will come “in mid-August”.
“Most of the military actions will conclude before the end of the year. As a result, we will restore power to all territories, including Donbas and Crimea, ”he predicted.
He admitted that “Europe sees Russia as a great threat”, but that, after fighting with the Russian Army for eight years, kyiv has concluded that “the much-hyped Russian power is a myth”.
“It’s not that strong. It is a horde with weapons. We know everything about our enemies. We know their plans almost as soon as they are prepared,” he noted.