The withdrawal of troops from the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkov announced by Moscow was received with satisfaction in Kyiv. "Occupiers have no place in Ukraine and will not have one," said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his video address that night. More than six months after the start of the war, his army had massively pushed back the Russian occupiers in the Kharkiv region by Saturday. A little later, the Ministry of Defense in Moscow announced that its troops were withdrawing from strategically important cities.
According to its own statements, Kyiv is dependent on further arms deliveries from the West for further successful counter-offensives. During a visit by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens), her Ukrainian colleague Dmytro Kuleba put pressure on this.
Zelenskyy: 2000 square kilometers recaptured
According to Zelenskyy, the Ukrainians have recaptured around 2,000 square kilometers in the past ten days in areas previously occupied by Russia. The Ukrainian head of state thanked all soldiers who took part in recaptures in the Kharkiv region.
Officially, Moscow justified the withdrawal of its own troops by saying that the regrouping should strengthen units in the neighboring Donetsk region. However, many military experts assume that the Russians have recently come under so much pressure in view of the massive Ukrainian advance in the Kharkiv region that they have decided to flee.
Russian occupiers are calling on people in Kharkiv to flee
After the announcement of the withdrawal, the Russian occupiers called on all residents of the places in Kharkiv that had previously been under their control to flee. "I once again recommend all residents of the Kharkiv region to leave the region in order to protect their lives and health," said the head of the Russian military administration, Vitaly Gantchev, according to the TASS agency. "Staying in his house now is dangerous."
Ukraine urges Germany to supply battle tanks
In view of further attempts at reconquest, Ukraine is urging Germany to supply battle tanks. "We don't see any obstacles to this," said Foreign Minister Kuleba after a meeting with his German colleague Baerbock in Kyiv. Until Berlin decides to do so, Germany should continue to supply artillery ammunition. "This noticeably increases our offensive options and helps us to liberate new areas," said the chief diplomat.
Baerbock reacted reluctantly to the Ukrainian demand. "We have been delivering heavy weapons for a long time. And we see that these heavy weapons also make a difference in terms of support for Ukraine," she emphasized. Specifically, Baerbock named multiple rocket launchers, self-propelled howitzers and anti-aircraft tanks of the Gepard type. Germany will deliver ten more of the latter as soon as possible. The Foreign Minister also promised heavy equipment for building bridges and winter equipment.
Baerbock demands Russian withdrawal from the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant
Baerbock also called for the complete Russian withdrawal from the site of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. By occupying the nuclear power plant, Russian President Vladimir Putin is exposing the entire region to the danger of a nuclear incident, said the Greens politician.
That will be important on Sunday
Overshadowed by allegations of manipulation, the third and final day of regional and local elections is due in Russia on Sunday. In the first votes since the beginning of the war against Ukraine, governors, local parliaments and district councils will be re-elected in more than 80 regions of the giant country. Independent election observers complain that there can hardly be any talk of a free expression of political will because genuine opposition figures were excluded from the outset.