Ukraine's counteroffensive pushes back the Russians in Kharkov, the country's second largest city

After the Russian troops gave up their efforts to take kyiv, which was seen as a great victory by the Ukrainian Army, the priority objective was to try to regain ground in the Kharkov region, especially in the strategic and heavily punished city, the second most important in the country, with a population of almost one and a half million inhabitants.

Ukraine's counteroffensive pushes back the Russians in Kharkov, the country's second largest city

After the Russian troops gave up their efforts to take kyiv, which was seen as a great victory by the Ukrainian Army, the priority objective was to try to regain ground in the Kharkov region, especially in the strategic and heavily punished city, the second most important in the country, with a population of almost one and a half million inhabitants. The purpose is being fulfilled little by little. Tetiana Apatchenko, press officer of the 92nd Mechanized Brigade, the main Ukrainian force in the area, confirmed that Ukrainian troops had recaptured several villages in recent days, specifically Cherkaski Tyshky, Ruski Tyshki, Borshchova and Slobozhanske, settlements located to the north from Kharkiv.

This emblematic city, one of the main industrial (especially in the aerospace and nuclear electronics fields), commercial and cultural centers of the country, was founded in 1655 from a fortress that protected the southern border of the Russian empire.

After the October Revolution it was occupied by the Bolshevik army, which would make it the capital of the Soviet Republic of Ukraine until 1934, when kyiv took over. Before the outbreak of the war, it was an attractive city to visit, with places like Liberty Square, the third largest in Europe and the seventh largest in the world. The Kremlin has designated Kharkov as a priority objective since the beginning of the invasion, on February 24, and has suffered a multitude of bombings that have changed the appearance of its streets.

Defense Ministry adviser Yuriy Saks told Reuters that “our military operations, especially north and northeast of Kharkov, are a kind of success story. The Ukrainian Army was able to push these war criminals into a line beyond the range of their artillery." This counterattack could signal the start of a new phase in the conflict, with Ukraine now going on the offensive after weeks in which Russia took the initiative without making much progress. By pushing back the invading forces that had occupied the outskirts of Kharkov since the beginning of the invasion 77 days ago, the Ukrainians are drawing closer to the rear supply lines that are supporting the main Russian strike force, located to the south.

Neil Melvin of the RUSI think tank in London believes those supply lines are “one of the main weaknesses of the Russians. The Ukrainians are getting closer to the border. So all the gains that the Kremlin made in the early days in northeastern Ukraine are fading away."

Since Russia was forced to abandon an assault on the capital in late March, its main force has been trying to encircle Ukrainian troops in the Donbass, using the city of Izyum, south of Kharkiv, as a base. "Our assessment is that the Russians have to withdraw some Axis forces leading to control of the region because of what happened in Kharkov, and that underscores the challenges that lie ahead," retired US General Jack Keane said. now chairman of the Institute for the Study of War think tank.


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