IZIUM, Ukraine.- On Monday, Russian forces in Ukraine retreated in disarray from a wide swath of the front line, facing a blitzkrieg of Ukrainians in the east and their advances in the south. President Vladimir PutinHe claimed to have annexed the areas his forces were losing day by day with Russia.
After being captured during Lyman City WeekendA strategic railway junction and gateway to the Donbass region, Ukrainian forces continued to advance further east, towards the city of Lisysansk, which Russia captured three months ago after bloody fighting. Any territorial retreat in the Donbass militates against the war goal Putin set himself in February: occupying the region and annexing it to Russia.
The Kremlin echoed its troop disbandment, which is rapidly changing hands, and acknowledged that it still does not know what the new border line Russia claims in southern Ukraine will be. “We will continue to discuss the boundaries with the locals.”Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a press conference.
The Reserves impose Putin’s order to reinforce his offensive troops on September 21 sparked a wave of protests and outrage across Russia: The war suddenly knocked on the door of many Russians, who had hitherto been marginalized. Many men were recruited even though they were unfit to fight due to age or disability.
On Monday, the governor of Russia’s far-eastern Khabarovsk region said half of the region’s thousands of enlisted men should not have been conscripted and should have been sent back to their homes. He also informed that the military commissioner of the region has been removed from his post.
Putin wanted Monday to be a day of joy in Moscow, where the lower house of the clerk’s office, the Duma, Russia’s parliament, Unanimously approved the annexation of four regions of Ukraine After conducting pantomime polls.
But developments on the battlefield now threaten to turn Putin’s comments into a joke, with Ukrainians recapturing devastated and largely depopulated cities after the Russian withdrawal. The village of Pisky-Radkivsky, north of Lyman, was recaptured last week, and Ukrainians found it strewn with burnt-out Russian tanks, abandoned equipment and the corpses of Kremlin soldiers.
On Monday, Ukraine said it destroyed a Russian armored column near the village of Dorske in the Donetsk region, east of Lyman and just 35 kilometers from Lysizansk. Ukrainian military spokesman Vladislav Podkych said the attack left roads littered with tanks and burning armor.
Independent sources could not confirm the attack, but Russian officials acknowledged a setback in the area. He said Ukrainian forces had entered the Luhansk region for the first time in months and had established positions near Lysizansk. Russia now claims the two provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk as its own territory, known as the Donbass region.
Crammed into the bed of an army truck headed for new positions near Lyman, a detachment of Ukrainian and foreign soldiers is confused about the Russian retreat.
“We broke their lines and we’ve been running them ever since,” said the 26-year-old American volunteer, who uses Boris as a pseudonym. “Basically, we outballed them.” What the Ukrainian soldiers found on their way was that the Russian troops were starving, poorly armed and sometimes without weapons to defend themselves.
“Many are in flip flops and malnourished,” says Boris. The two Russian soldiers who passed his division had only one weapon to share. At another abandoned Russian position, they found graffiti in which Russian soldiers insulted their commander. “It’s clear to me that they don’t want to be here.”
Hundreds of kilometers to the south, Ukrainian forces also began to move. And into the Kherson region, An outpost that a senior Ukrainian military official described as the beginning of an intense phase of a month-long offensive.
The Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged on Monday that Ukrainian tank units had penetrated its defense line in a part of the territory occupied by Russian forces in the first weeks of the war.
Kirill Stremosov, Russia’s top official in the region, says Ukrainian troops have advanced along the Dnieper River in the direction of the regional capital Kherson, but insists that “The situation is fully under control.”
Russia’s positions in the Kherson region are vulnerable. Most of the Kremlin’s forces are stationed west of the broad Dnieper, in and around the city of Kherson, while its supply and logistical support is mainly on the other side, on the east bank of the river.
Ukrainian forces have destroyed all the bridges across the river, which are vital for Russia to supply its forces with ammunition and equipment. After several months, the Russians were well established in control of the region, but a concerted attack could strain their already limited supply lines and complicate a retreat across the river.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Monday, Russian forces free director of Europe’s largest nuclear power plantIn the Zaporizhia region, its security has become an issue of international concern. The said person was arrested three days ago. Russian troops took control of the plant early in the war, but it continues to be run by Ukrainian workers, although Ukrainian officials say the Russian occupation was brutal.
Despite Ukraine’s recent gains, Russian forces still control nearly 20% of Ukrainian territory, including areas they occupied and annexed in 2014. On firepower, Moscow stands out and has threatened to resort to tactical nuclear weapons to defend what it now considers Russian territory. The Kremlin has already shown more than once that it will rain fire and destruction on Ukraine.
Andrew E. Kramer, Carlotta Gall, and Anton Troyanovsky
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