Moscow’s state TV outlet made a rare acknowledgment of defeat on the battlefield on Friday, with the acknowledgment that Ukraine had won a “substantial victory” in breaking Russian lines this week.
“The fact of the breach of our defense is already a major victory for the Ukrainian armed forces,” Vitaly Ganachev, the head of Russia’s occupation forces in Kharkiv province, told Russian state TV.
“The enemy is being delayed as much as possible, but many settlements have already come under the control of Ukrainian armed formations.”
Given the Kremlin’s blanket ban on any war reports that break from official accounts, the admission is a notable sign of Russian surprise at the Ukrainian counterattack.
The broadcast comes a day after Ukraine made a major progress from Kharkiv towards the contested Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.
The surprise attack shocked Russian troops, as many of Moscow’s resources had already been transferred south to block Kyiv’s much-publicized attempt to liberate Kherson in the south.
Ukrainian officials indicated that the strategy was intentional, and that Kyiv’s publicized focus on Kherson was used to turn troops away from Russian supply lines to the north.
“We found a weak spot where the enemy was unprepared,” as Oleksey Erestovich, adviser to the Ukrainian president, put it in a video posted on YouTube.
Ganachev said the occupying forces were evacuating civilians from several cities in anticipation of further Ukrainian gains – including Izium, a northeastern city that has served as a re-supply center for Russian forces operating in the Donbass. .
Erestovich said on Friday that the Russian army in Izium was almost cut off from the main Russian army.
Ukrainians also claimed that hundreds of Russians were captured and hundreds more killed within days of fighting.
The Russian Defense Ministry released a video on Friday purported to show reinforcements moving rapidly in the area to stem the tide of Ukraine.
But meanwhile, videos surfaced on social media that claimed Ukrainian soldiers waved blue and gold flags in the recently occupied territory.
The victory has been difficult to confirm, as Ukraine has remained silent about its operations and limited access to journalists.
But one image showed Ukrainian soldiers in front of a sign welcoming them in Kupiyansk – a city northeast of Izium on the Oskil River, which is home to several rail lines used by Russia to move men and supplies. Acts as a junction point for
In fact, Ukraine’s pincer maneuver seems to hinge on growing issues with Russia’s supply chain.
The counterattack at Kherson began after weeks of so-called “shaping operations”, using long-range rocket artillery to blow up bridges and disrupt supply lines, trapping Russian forces on either side of the wide Dnieper River and destroying equipment. Transport slowed down. arms and ammunition.
Zelensky said Friday that Ukraine’s military had “liberated dozens of settlements” on both the southern and northern fronts, reclaiming about 385 square miles of territory from the Russians.
“We see success in Kherson now, we see some success in Kharkiv and so that’s very encouraging,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a news conference with his Czech counterpart in Prague on Friday.
post with wires