Ukraine Recaptures Key Towns, Forcing Russia’s Army To Withdraw

A swift counterattack by Ukrainian forces has forced Russian troops to withdraw from key towns in the east, Kyiv officials said.

According to Ukraine’s authorities, the country’s troops entered Kupiansk, a key logistics hub for Russian forces, on Saturday.

In a late-night speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed his country had liberated 2,000 square kilometers from Russia since its forces launched a strengthened counteroffensive earlier this month.

The night before, Mr. Zelensky revealed that Ukrainian forces had liberated 1,000 kilometers from Russia, suggesting that the other half of the area was recaptured in just two days. If held, such Ukrainian advancements would have been the most significant since Moscow withdrew from the capital, Kyiv, in April.

The Russian Defense Ministry said their troops had withdrawn to the nearby Ukrainian city of Izyum to regroup.

Russian troops from a third key city, Balaklyia, have also withdrawn to bolster efforts on the Donetsk front, the ministry added.

“A three-day operation was carried out on the drawdown and organized transfer of the Izyum-Balakliya group of troops to the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic,” the Russian statement said.

“In order to prevent damage to the Russian troops, a powerful fire defeat was inflicted on the enemy,” the statement added.

International policy experts say Russia’s admission of a withdrawal is significant, as Kupianks has been a major military center for the country’s forces since the conflict began.

Russian state news agency Tass reported that, after the ministry’s statement, the chief administrator of the Moscow-controlled parts in the Kharkiv region said residents should evacuate to Russia to save lives.

Later, the governor of Russia’s neighboring Belgorod region offered mobile catering, medical and heating services to people queuing to cross the border.

According to Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s latest developments show that the country’s forces can defeat the Russian army, retake Russian-occupied territory, and bring an end to the conflict if provided with more Western weaponry.

Such advances are also crucial for Ukraine’s government, as Kyiv continues to ask Western allies for further military support to face the war.