Ukrainians report large land gains in the east



Major gains in territory in the east: the Ukrainians are taking back their country

The army reports large gains in territory in the Kharkiv region. The Russian army retreats further east.

Ukrainian flags in Balakliya in Kharkiv region.

The Russian invasion troops withdrew to the east of the strategically important Oskil River over the weekend. Even a general staff map published in the Telegram channel of the Russian TV channel “Zwezda” shows practically no more Russian units west of the Oskil.

Ukrainian Chief of Staff Valeriy Zalushni said on Sunday that more than 2,500 square kilometers of land south-east of Kharkiv had been recaptured. “From Kharkiv, we not only advanced south and east, but also north,” Zalushni explained on Telegram.

A tweet from the village of Vavarivka, 10 kilometers from the Russian border, showed on Sunday afternoon how the Ukrainian flag is also being hoisted there after the Russian occupiers apparently fled.

Strategically important locations captured

The Ukrainians managed to win the most important recaptures during a pincer attack on the two Russian logistics centers of Kupjansk and Izjum. Kupyansk is an important railway junction for Russian supplies to the front lines in northern Donbass. The railway line runs along the east bank of the Oskil from Russia to Lyman, from where the main attack was on the city of Sloviansk, which was still held by the Ukrainians.

On Sunday, the 27,000-inhabitant city of Kupjansk, which is also strategically important because of its bridges, was still contested. The Ukrainians held the city center to the west, the Russians the train station to the east. There were optimistic reports from Kyiv that the eastern part would also soon be conquered.

Things went a little better for Ukraine on Sunday in the south of the approximately 50-kilometer-deep wedge that the Ukrainian army had driven towards the Russian border in the past 3-4 days. On Sunday, the important road junction of Izjum seemed firmly back in Ukrainian hands after three months of Russian occupation.

Separatist leader sounds the alarm

Despite the lack of official confirmation in Kyiv, a dramatic appeal by the “President” of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic”, Denis Puschilin, gives a deep insight. Apparently, he had hastily canceled an inspection trip to Krasny Liman, the military airport in the north of the city of the same name, because of security problems. «Every day something comes flying. Donbass is not broken, it works, it lives. We are obliged to win, »says Puschilin in a video message.

On Saturday, the Russian army had announced that its units were withdrawing from Izjum. These threatened to be encircled by the Ukrainian counter-offensive. According to the Russian General Staff, the units were only deployed to carry out special tasks in the Donbass. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the Russian withdrawal as a breakthrough.

Ukrainians need more guns

“This winter is the turning point and it can lead to the quick liberation of Ukraine,” Zelensky said in his address to the nation on Saturday night. “In the past few days, the Russian army has shown us its best side – its back.” The Russians were already fleeing in many directions, he reported. “If we were a bit stronger with weapons, we would make even faster progress,” Zelenskiy turned to the West.

Although the Ukrainians have achieved some tactically important successes, especially in southern Ukraine, thanks to Western precision weapons such as the US-supplied Himars missile launchers, there are still problems with deliveries of modern tanks. Kyiv would also like to have combat aircraft.

Russia matched its air and artillery superiority to Ukraine’s advance in the northeast on Sunday. Along the entire line of the Donbass front, the important cities of Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Bakhmut and Avdievka, which were still held by Kyiv, and more than a dozen villages were shelled.