Kharkiv: The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday it was withdrawing its forces from two areas in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region where a Ukrainian counteroffensive made significant progress last week.
Russian-backed local authorities in the northern Kharkiv region announced that the Russian military was leaving the area “temporarily”, CNN reported. The military-civic administration of the Vovchansk district, through which many Russian supplies go to the front lines, said in a short message on Telegram: “The Russian army is leaving Volchansk!![?] (Vovchansk) temporarily. The city’s population continues to evacuate.”
The administration quoted a member of the Russian parliament, Evgeniy Evtushenko, as saying the local headquarters would be moved across the border to the Russian city of Belgorod.
“To save the lives of civilians, the Russian armed forces have decided to leave our city. (The) City administration will be transferred to Belgorod. Its branches will be in Kursk, Yakutsk, Vladivostok and St. Petersburg until that the situation in the city stabilizes,” Evtushenko said.
“The Russian Armed Forces will return control of all Russian lands in the Kharkiv region,” he added.
Vovshansk has been an important link in the Russian army‘s supply chain from Belgorod, and it remained under Russian control even when Ukrainian forces recaptured some territory north and east of the city of Kharkiv in May , reported CNN.
In its first response to the gains made by Ukrainian forces in recent days, the Russian Defense Ministry said that “the decision has been taken to consolidate Russian troops in Balakleya and Izyum regions and redirect their efforts to Donetsk”. . reported CNN.
The ministry said “Russian Federation forces were reduced and redeployed to the DNR (Donetsk People’s Republic) within three days” and “opened heavy fire on the enemy to avoid suffering casualties.”
The ministry did not acknowledge any withdrawal from Kharkiv, instead suggesting a planned redeployment, CNN reported.
Ukrainian forces appear to have opened a new front against Russian defenses on the border of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
The head of the Luhansk regional military administration, Serhiy Hayday, posted a message saying that the city of Lysychansk was the target of the new offensive, CNN reported.
The town was lost to Russian forces and their allied militias after weeks of fierce fighting in June.
A senior Ukrainian official said the “main artery” of Russian forces through the Kharkiv region has been cut off.
Yurii Mysiagin, Ukrainian deputy and deputy head of the parliamentary committee on national security, said on Telegram that “a few days ago military experts said that the Ukrainian armed forces were trying to take the main logistical artery from the Russians in the Kharkiv region under full fire control.”
He said the artery runs from Vovchansk in the north, near the Russian border, to Izium on the Donetsk region border – a distance of about 125 kilometers (about 77 miles).
The Ukrainian military says casualties were inflicted on Russian forces in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, as well as in the Kharkiv region, CNN reported.
In an operational update, the General Staff said that “the liberation of settlements which have been temporarily captured by the Russian occupiers in the Kharkiv region and the southern direction of Buh continues. For the safety of our military, official information will be provided at a later date”.
The mayor of Izium in the Kharkiv region, Vladimir Matsokin, said in a radio interview that the city had been liberated, CNN reported.
Matson told a Ukrainian radio station: “Our Ukrainian armed forces are in Ilium. It cannot be said that the military operation to liberate Izium is over, but our army is working.”
Matson said above the city on Kremenets Mountain “our blue and yellow flag is already flying. It’s been confirmed.” (ANI)