12 September 2022
Ukraine claimed Monday it had re-taken several more villages from Russian troops as part of an ongoing counteroffensive in eastern Ukraine.
The counteroffensive forced Russia to withdraw troops from several areas in recent days. News agencies reported that thousands of Russian forces had withdrawn from areas around the northeastern cities of Kharkiv and Izium.
Russian soldiers reportedly left behind ammunition and equipment as they fled Izium, which Russia had used as a major military storage base.
Oleh Syniehubov is the governor of the Kharkiv area. He said, "In some areas of the front, our defenders reached the state border with the Russian Federation." Over the weekend, Russia's Defense Ministry said it was moving troops from that area to reorganize in the eastern area of Donetsk.
Ukraine's chief commander, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said Ukrainian forces had regained control of more than 3,000 square kilometers since the start of September.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has described the latest offensive as a major success in the country's six-month-old war with Russia. Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February.
Zelenskyy said late Sunday that Russian attacks had caused a total power outage in Kharkiv and Donetsk, and partial blackouts in surrounding areas.
Dnipropetrovsk Governor Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on the social media service Telegram that the Russians were "unable to reconcile themselves to defeats on the battlefield."
Ukraine's attacks in the Kharkiv area seemed to surprise Russia, which had moved many of its troops from that area to the south. Ukraine had publicly announced a counteroffensive there.
The Russian troop withdrawals led to critical comments online from some Russian military experts and patriotic broadcasters. They described the situation as a major defeat for Russia's military campaign and urged Russian officials to strengthen the country's war efforts. The experts also criticized officials for celebrating a Moscow city holiday on Saturday that included fireworks and other public activities.
In Kharkiv, officials praised a partial return to normal conditions. They noted that power and water operations were again working for about 80 percent of the area's population. Russian attacks on basic infrastructure have caused power outages in many areas across Ukraine.
"You are heroes!!!" Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov wrote on Telegram about the return of power in Ukraine's second-largest city. "Thanks to everyone who did everything possible on this most difficult night for Kharkiv – to normalize the life of the city as soon as possible," Terekhov said.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
The Associated Press and Reuters reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the reports for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
reconcile – v. to make two different ideas, beliefs or situations agree or exist together
infrastructure – n. the basic equipment and structures (such as roads and bridges) needed for a country or area to operate