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Ukrainian forces will have won the battle of Kharkiv, says Institute for the Study of War

Russian troops retreated from the outskirts of Ukraine’s second-largest city because of the Ukrainian counteroffensive and difficulties in bringing in reinforcements. Ukrainian forces prevented the Russians from besieging Kharkiv and then drove them out, “as they did to Russian military units trying to take over Kyiv”.

Kyiv’s forces “won the battle of Kharkiv” in eastern Ukraine, according to the US Institute for the Study of War. This will be a new Ukrainian victory, after the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kyiv and cities in the northeast of the country – Sumi and Chernihiv, for example – and a new stumble in Russian strategy, which did not consider continued and violent Ukrainian resistance or the lack of resources in your army.

“It is likely that the Russian army decided to completely withdraw from its positions on the outskirts of Kharkiv, in the face of Ukrainian counterattacks and the limited availability of reinforcements,” say researchers at the Institute for the Study of War, in an analysis published this week. Friday. Kharkiv is the second-largest Ukrainian city and is located just over 50 km from the Russian border.

Already this Saturday, the mayor of Kharkiv, Igor Terekhov, confirmed that Russian troops are leaving the vicinity of the city. The area has not been bombed for five days, allowing some inhabitants to return, despite the enormous material damage.

Speaking to the BBC, Terekhov assured that the Moscow soldiers are now retreating towards the border. “The Russians have been bombing Kharkiv incessantly, but thanks to the efforts of the Territorial Defense Forces and the Ukrainian army, they have withdrawn from the city zone,” he explained.

Kharkiv is more “calm” today. “We are providing water, gas, and electricity to our citizens, but unfortunately, many residential buildings have been destroyed or are seriously damaged”, added the mayor, with the certainty that the future will bring “huge reconstruction work”.

The Russian response may now be to replace its troops – currently in an “orderly retreat, back to their country” – with soldiers who, not being from the Moscow army, represent Russia or by mercenaries. Also, in general, the army “has not tried to resist the counterattacks of Ukrainian forces in recent days”.

“Ukrainian forces prevented Russian troops from even besieging Kharkiv, let alone controlling it, and then drove them out of the city, as they did to Russian military units trying to take over Kiev,” explain the report’s authors, Kateryna Stepanenko and Frederick W. Kagan.

Control of Kharkiv would be one of the goals of the Kremlin, which has intensified bombings against the region since the beginning of the war. Right now, Ukraine already controls territory up to 40 kilometers east of the city — or as far as the Donets River, which Russia has not been able to cross.

According to British secret services and the governor of the Lugansk region, Serhiy Haidai, Russia lost, in three failed attempts to cross the river, a significant amount of weaponry, armored vehicles, speedboats and helicopters “which it used to cover its onslaughts.” ” destroyed by Ukrainian forces, says Haidai.

Even so, the violent fighting, using heavy artillery, and the air attacks did not stop in eastern Ukraine. Russia continues to bomb towns and villages north of Kharkiv, even as its troops advance slowly.

Also in Donbass, where Putin has already recognized the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk, Russian offensives are concentrated in Severodonestk and Lysychansk, 80 kilometers from the border. While the Kremlin may not have enough reinforcements to compensate for its casualties and besiege the cities, according to the Institute for the Study of War, “it is likely to continue to try to do so.”

“We are entering a new and long phase of the war,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Friday night. The forecast is for “extremely difficult weeks” in which Ukraine will be almost alone against an “angry aggressor”, Reznikov added.

Source: With Agencies

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