Ukraine’s armed forces have recaptured large swathes of territory and are making “significant gains” against Russia’s occupation of the northwestern Kharkiv region, the British Ministry of Defense said in a press briefing on Sunday. on the information.
Russian forces have likely “withdrawn units from the area”, but fighting continues around the strategically important towns of Kupyansk and Izyum, he said in his daily update on the war in Ukraine, posted on Twitter .
The Ukrainian government says Russia’s withdrawal from Kharkiv is a major turning point in the six-month-old conflict, as thousands of Russian troops abandoned stockpiles of arms and ammunition to flee the Ukrainian advance, it said. they stated.
Some Western experts described the withdrawal as the worst defeat for Russian forces since they were pushed back from the capital Kyiv in March.
On his Telegram channel on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy said that the Ukrainian flag had “returned to Chkalovske, in the Kharkiv region”.
“It will be like that everywhere. We will expel the occupiers from every Ukrainian town and village,” he added.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a Telegram post on Saturday that “a decision had been made to regroup” some of its troops from the Balakliya and Izyum regions — Izyum had been a major base for troops from Moscow — and transfer them to the eastern region of Donetsk in Ukraine.
The decision was taken “in order to achieve the stated goals of the special military operation to liberate Donbass”, the ministry said, referring to the industrial heartland of eastern Ukraine which has become the focal point of the Kremlin War after being forced to give up on its assault on the capital, Kyiv.
NBC News could not independently verify either party’s claims.