‘Taken By Surprise’: Russian Forces Retreat Under Major Ukrainian Counteroffensive On Eastern Front

Photo by GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images

Alyssa Blakemore Contributor
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Moscow abandoned two major areas in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region Saturday after Ukrainian forces choked out a major supply point for Russian troops.

“In order to achieve the declared goals of the special military operation for the liberation of Donbas, it was decided to regroup the Russian forces stationed near Balakleya and Izyum to boost efforts in the Donetsk direction,” Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov told TASS. Language used in Russia’s statement resembles claims made earlier this year in the wake of its failure to take Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv, Fox News said. (RELATED: Russia Plans On Buying Millions Of Artillery Shells From North Korea: REPORT)

 The retreat of Russian forces from the area marks a major success for Ukraine, as Ukrainian forces are believed to have retaken the town of Kupiansk, the AP reported. A recapture of the northern town effectively cuts off the supply line to Russian forces, according to the AP.

British officials further suggested Saturday that troops around Izyum are “increasingly isolated” and “were likely taken by surprise.” If Ukraine is successful in cutting off Russian ground lines of communication around Izyum, then conditions may be set for “collapse” of a “major portion” of Russian strongholds in northeast Ukraine, an assessment by the Institute for the Study of War states.

As part of its recent counteroffensive, Kyiv has so far seized 2500 square kilometers of territory in the country’s Kharkiv region, according to estimates from the Institute for the Study of War. “We are gradually taking control over more settlements, returning the Ukrainian flag and protection for our people,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday.