Many Russian soldiers withdrawing from Kharkiv have left Ukraine, US official says


There were reports of chaos as Russian troops retreated.

“The Russians were here in the morning. Then at noon they suddenly started screaming wildly and started running away, charging into tanks and armored vehicles,” Dmytro Hrushchenko, a resident of Zaliznychne, a small town recently liberated near the city, told Sky News. eastern front line.

Russian state television commentators were forced out of the script due to the rapid advance of Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv region and the rapid withdrawal from Moscow.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on economic issues via teleconference in Moscow.Credit:PA

Since the start of what Russia calls its “special military operation,” belligerent guests on state television talk shows have generally tried to outdo each other in supporting President Vladimir Putin and denouncing Ukraine and its allies.

But following Kyiv’s lightning counter-offensive, the mood was more subdued and the narrative turned to the northeast.

The Rossiya-24 news channel on Monday interviewed Vitaly Ganchev, a Russian-appointed official in the Kharkiv region, who said Russian troops in the province were “eight times as numerous”. He also said, without providing evidence, that Ukrainian forces had been reinforced by “Western mercenaries”.

“A most difficult week on the front line,” presenter Dmitry Kiselyov said as he opened his Sunday night prime-time show.

Under a studio backdrop reading “Regrouping”, Kiselyov said Russian forces had abandoned “previously liberated settlements” under pressure from “superior enemy forces”.

In a rare show of dissent, Boris Nadezhdin, a former liberal politician and regular talk show guest, told Gazprom-owned NTV that Putin had been misled by advisers into believing that the Ukraine would surrender quickly, and urged immediate peace talks to end the conflict.

Other hosts opted for positive rotation.

The advance of Ukraine against Russia.Credit:Nine/ Institute for the Study of War

Daily 60 minutes talk show host Olga Skabeyeva opened Monday morning’s show by describing Sunday’s Russian bombardment of Ukrainian power plants and the resulting blackouts in eastern Ukraine as “a turning point in the special military operation”.

Several guests also referred to Putin’s July remarks that Russia “hasn’t started anything serious yet”, saying Moscow will now step up military action.

Media coverage of the Russian withdrawal was framed by talk of the Defense Ministry about a “tactical redeployment” of its troops, although some newspapers quoted military experts as suggesting that not all went according to plan.

The Izvestia The newspaper, in its weekend summary, said Russia had killed 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers and the army had “redeployed forces to focus on Donbass”.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta was more critical, saying the Russian Defense Ministry had not commented on “extremely worrying information from Ukraine…for several days.”

The newspaper noted that as Ukrainian forces advanced on Russia’s western border, military leaders from Moscow were thousands of miles away in the far east of the country, for annual war game drills that involved 50,000 troops.

Reuters, AP

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