Russia has retreated from the Kharkiv region as Ukrainian forces have recaptured previously Russian-held territory in one of its fastest advances in months, several outlets reported.
A Russian-installed regional official said Ukraine’s advance was “very sharp and rapid, Reuters reported.
“In order to achieve the goals of the special military operation, a decision was made to regroup troops in the areas of Balakliya and Izyum in order to build up efforts in the Donetsk direction,” the Russian military statement said, The Washington Post reported.
Here's the full statement from Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov on the decision to "regroup" troops from Balakliya and Izyum pic.twitter.com/P8BHn7VHOR— Francis Scarr (@francis_scarr) September 10, 2022
“The enemy is being delayed as much as possible, but several settlements have already come under the control of Ukrainian armed formations,” Vitaly Ganchev, head of the Russian-backed administration in the Kharkiv region, said on state television, Reuters reported.
The New York Times reported that Ukrainian forces were recapturing cities in the Kharkiv region. The Times, citing military analysts and pro-Kremlin bloggers, reported that the advance shows Ukraine reaching closer to capturing, Izium, a key Russian military stronghold.
Natalia Popova, an advisor to the head of the Kharkiv Regional Council, told the Times that Ukraine has recaptured the town of Kupiansk.
In a video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian forces ” liberated and took control of more than 30 settlements in Kharkiv region.”
“In some of the villages of the region, actions to check and secure the territory continue, we are gradually taking new settlements under our control – we are returning the Ukrainian flag and protection for our people everywhere,” Zelenskyy said.
Reuters reported that rail lines between Russia and eastern Ukraine converge in Kupiansk. Ukraine’s rapid advance has disrupted Russia’s main logistics route and could trap thousands of Russian troops.
CNN reported that Russia is reinforcing embattled military units in response to Ukraine’s advance.
The strong advance could signal a shift in the war, Reuters reported. The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank estimated that as of Friday Ukrainian forces have removed Russian forces from 2,500 square kilometers or about 965 square miles of land in the Kharkiv region.