UKRAINE has declared victory in the Battle of Kharkiv as Vladimir Putin’s forces are pushed back from the country’s second largest city.
Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said people were slowly returning and the battle was won.
“There were no Russian troops in the city of Kharkiv. Russian tanks and armored fighting vehicles were eliminated by Ukrainian fighters,” he told the BBC.
“And thanks to the efforts of Kharkiv’s territorial defense and Ukrainian armed forces, the Russians have now retreated far from the city — toward the border.”
The victory means Ukrainian artillery can now threaten the city of Vovchansk, which has a vital highway and railway line to supply forces in Donbass.
However, the retreating Russians should focus on guarding supply routes and continue to launch artillery and airstrikes over Donetsk to crush Ukrainian forces and destroy fortifications, the Ukrainian General Staff said.
The Institute for the Study of War – a Washington-based think tank that declared the battle for Ukraine won – said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s forces prevented Russian troops from encircling Kharkiv and drove them out of surrounding areas.
Regional governor Oleh Sinegubov said by telegram that there had been no shelling in the city over the past day.
He added that Ukraine launched a counter-offensive near the strategic city of Izyum, which is currently held by Russia.
There was also fierce fighting on the Siversky Donets River near the city of Severodonetsk, where Ukraine has launched counterattacks but failed to stem Russia’s advance, said Oleh Zhdanov, an independent Ukrainian military analyst.
“The fate of a large part of the Ukrainian army is being decided – there are about 40,000 Ukrainian soldiers,” he said.
Putin’s troops suffered heavy casualties when Ukraine launched a surprise attack that destroyed a Russian pontoon bridge they were trying to use to cross the Donets River in Bilohorivka, Ukrainian and British officials said.
Russia’s second and third missions to cross the river also appeared to end in costly failure, with new satellite imagery showing another sunken pontoon bridge and half a dozen abandoned military vehicles.
In total, Russia lost more than 70 tanks, trucks and armored cars in four days in attempts to cross the river, according to Ukrainian investigative site InformNapalm.
The withdrawal comes nearly a month after Putin’s exhausted and exhausted forces were forced to pull out of Kyiv and were later repulsed by a ragtag band of territorial defense troops and civilians after suffering “enormous” Mykolaiv losses.
A liberated Kharkiv is a major victory for Ukraine and signals a new long-term phase in the war, the country’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his forces would drive out the invaders and again urged Europe and other allies to step up their support.
He said that today no one can predict how long the war will last and that any outcome depends on support from Europe and other allies.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5340530/ukraine-declares-victory-in-kharkiv-putins-forces-flee/ Ukraine declares VICTORY in the Battle of Kharkiv as Putin’s forces are driven out of the country’s second city