The Ukrainian counter-offensive in the east of the country apparently caused the Russian armed forces to flee in a hurry. "They just dropped their guns on the ground," residents of Zaliznychne, Zaporizhia Oblast, told the Washington Post. Half of the soldiers fled in their vehicles in the first hours of the offensive. Those who stayed behind had become more and more desperate. According to the newspaper, some villagers were heard over the radio asking their unit commanders to pick them up. However, the commanders refused.
"They said: 'You are on your own,'" local resident Olena Matvienko describes the events in the newspaper. The soldiers then obtained vehicles and civilian clothing to flee on their own. "They came to our homes to take our clothes so the drones couldn't see them in uniforms. They took our bikes. Two of them pointed guns at my ex-husband until he handed them his car keys."
The "Financial Times" reports something similar: The Kremlin troops in the southeast of Kharkov were already on the verge of panic, the newspaper writes. Many were in such a hurry that meals were left on the canteen tables and boxes of valuable ammunition and other weapons were left near the trenches. "They left their tanks and equipment behind. [...] They even grabbed bicycles to flee. [...] They fled like Olympic sprinters," the newspaper quoted Petro Kuzyk, commander in the Ukrainian National Guard , who is involved in the offensive.
Several videos analyzed and verified by US broadcaster CNN, as well as local reports, show a chaotic retreat by Russian units, leaving large amounts of ammunition and equipment behind.
The Ukrainian army has been able to gain significant territory over the past few days and recapture several strategically important towns. The counter-offensive against the troops of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies is making progress, especially in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, Kyiv said in its morning situation report on Monday. The Russian general staff conceded the most extensive withdrawal from the Kharkiv region, but described this as a "regrouping" to reinforce the units in the Donetsk region.
Quellen: "Washington Post", "Financial Times", CNN, Associated Press