RUSSIAN soldiers hoisted a white flag as they fled a Ukrainian advance that has retaken much of the territory, it has been reported.
In a great humiliation for Vladimir Putin’s forces, the Russian Defense Ministry has admitted that the attack forced its troops to withdraw from the key city of Izium.
The city was a key Russian bastion in the territory of north-eastern Ukraine, which it still held, and its defeat could mark an important turning point in the war.
Troops are being deployed there to bolster operations elsewhere in neighboring Russian breakaway Donetsk Oblast.
Now reports are emerging of Russian troops fleeing around the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in the manner of their humiliating defeat earlier this spring.
“Last night the Russians put up a white flag near the train station,” a Ukrainian officer involved in the liberation of Izium told the New York Times.
As the Ukrainians advanced, a bloodied and injured senior Russian officer was seen after being captured.
The Russian announcement comes hours after Ukrainian forces captured the more northerly city of Kupyansk, the only rail junction serving Russia’s entire front line in northeastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials posted photos of their troops raising the country’s blue and yellow flag in front of the city hall in Kupiansk at dawn.
Ukrainian forces have retaken dozens of towns and villages that have been held by Russia for months since they stormed through the front line earlier this week.
This abruptly cut off supplies for thousands of Russian troops across a stretch of front that saw some of the most intense battles of the war.
“There is still much we do not know about the offensive, but it is clear that it was well planned and executed by the Ukrainian armed forces,” said Rob Lee, military analyst at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
“It looks like a very effective combined arms operation with tanks, mechanized infantry, special forces, air defense, artillery and other systems.”
Mark Hertling, a retired four-star general and former commander of US ground forces in Europe, tweeted, “Make no mistake,” Ukraine is “conducting a brilliant maneuver.”
“But the Russians are helping them – by doing very little about it,” he added.
Russian forces had fought hard to capture Izium early in the war.
It was used as a logistics base for one of their main campaigns – a month-long attack on the adjacent Donbass region from the north.
The Russian defeat could prove to be a crucial turning point in the six-month war, as thousands of Russian soldiers fled, abandoning their ammunition supplies and equipment.
It quickly and suddenly ended a period when the war had been fought as a relentless drudgery on a static front that favored Moscow’s advantage in raw firepower.
Ukraine’s top general has expressed fears that Russian defeats on the battlefield could lead to Putin ordering the use of nuclear weapons.
Ukrainian officials stopped to confirm that they had recaptured Izium.
But President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, tweeted a grape emoji.
The word “Izium” means “raisins” in Ukrainian and Russian.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6192677/putins-soldiers-raise-white-flag-abandon-towns/ Putin’s troops raise white flag and EXIT key city in face of Ukrainian attack as military say forces are ‘regrouping’.