VLADIMIR Putin’s troops have started evacuating another major city in the face of alleged Ukrainian backlash.
Russian forces are said to be withdrawing from Melitopol in southern Ukraine’s Zaporizhia region and heading for Moscow-annexed Crimea in a humiliating blow to the Kremlin.
The mayor of the city before the occupation, Ivan Fedorov, wrote on Telegram that columns with military equipment were reported at a checkpoint in Chonhar, a village that marks the border between the Crimea peninsula and mainland Ukraine.
Melitopol, an area half the size of Wales, has been occupied since early March, the start of Putin’s war with Ukraine.
Its capture would give Kyiv an opportunity to cut Russian supply lines between the south and eastern Donbass region, the two main areas where Moscow-backed forces hold territory.
Meanwhile, Russian forces were also withdrawn from the north-eastern Kharkiv region, including the city two miles from Russia that was captured on the first day of the war.
Last week, Putin’s troops left the key city of Izium in Kharkiv province.
In the newly liberated village of Chkalovske in the Kharkiv region, Svitlana Honchar said the Russian withdrawal was sudden and quick.
She said: “They went like the wind. They escaped by any means they could.
“Some Russians seemed to have been left behind in the hasty retreat. They were trying to catch up.”
It comes as Russian soldiers are reportedly surrendering en masse in a humiliating blow as Kiev’s troops advance.
Dramatic footage from the front line shows troops prone as they surrender as Ukraine is estimated to have retaken most of Russian-held territory, some 6,000 square kilometers.
Some of the Russian tyrant’s demoralized troops fled across the border on bicycles, while others even shot themselves or blew themselves up rather than fight.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials have released footage showing Kiev’s troops burning Russian flags and inspecting abandoned, charred tanks.
In one video, border guards tore down a placard that read, “We are one people with Russia.”
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Kyiv was trying to persuade more Russian soldiers to surrender by firing leaflet-laden grenades ahead of their advance.
The flyers read: “The Russians are using you as cannon fodder. Your life means nothing to them.
“You don’t need this war. Surrender to the Armed Forces of Ukraine”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian forces were carrying out stabilization measures in the retaken territory to the south and east, rounding up Russian troops, saboteurs and suspected collaborators.
Zelenskyy said: “It is very important that together with our troops, with our flag, ordinary, normal life invades the unoccupied territory”.
The Russian army has suffered devastating casualties over the past week as the Ukrainian army launched a stunning counterattack.
British intelligence said a leading force, the 1st Guards Tank Army, was severely demoted during the invasion, along with Russian conventional forces designed to counter NATO.
“It will likely take years for Russia to rebuild that capability, British officials said.
Independent Russian political scientist Abbas Gallyamov said the backlash “could renew Russia’s interest in peace talks.”
Experts estimate that since the start of the Ukrainian offensive on September 6, Russia has lost weapons worth almost a billion dollars.
As the offensive seems about to collapse, Russian troops leave vast amounts of weapons such as tanks on the battlefield.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6218269/putins-troops-abandoning-major-city-ukraines-counter-strike/ Putin’s troops ‘abandon’ ANOTHER major city as Ukraine’s lightning-fast counter-attack on Crimea rages