Ukrainian forces reclaim about 6,000 sq km of Russian-held territory in south and east Ukraine

New Delhi: Ukrainian forces have retaken more than 6,000 sq km of Russian-held terrain in southern and eastern Ukraine since the beginning of September. They claimed to have seized numerous Russian soldiers as part of a lightning advance that prompted Moscow to flee in haste on Monday as they retook a large portion of territory from Russia, pushing back to the northeastern border in certain spots. Ukrainian military intelligence and Russian troop’s spokesperson said “Russian troops were surrendering en masse as “they understand the hopelessness of their situation.”

Also, a Ukrainian presidential adviser quoted, “there were so many POWs that the country was running out of space to accommodate them.” 

The Ukrainian military has freed more than 20 settlements in 24 hours. As the blue and yellow Ukrainian flags hover over the newly rescued towns.

As per the British Defence Ministry, Kyiv forces have captured Russian-held land at least twice the size of greater London.

The momentum has boosted Ukrainian morale and sparked rare public criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war after months of little apparent movement on the battlefield. 

“In some areas of the front, our defenders reached the state border with the Russian Federation,” said Oleh Syniehubov, governor of the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Troops will be pulled from two areas in that region to regroup in the eastern region of Donestk, over the weekend said Russian Defence Ministry.

Soldiers could be seen hoisting the Ukrainian flag above buildings that had been destroyed in a battle military video.

A combatant in one moment wiped his boots on a Russian flag that was lying on the ground. In other footage, Ukrainians could be seen examining the rusted-out remains of Russian military vehicles, including tanks.

“Efforts to disarm land mines were underway in the recaptured areas, along with a search for any remaining Russian troops,” Ukrainian military officials said.

“Military intelligence spokesman Andrey Yusov said the captured troops included significant numbers of Russian officers.”

In Kharkiv, authorities hailed that power and water had been restored to about 80% of the region’s population following Russian attacks on infrastructure that knocked out electricity in many places across Ukraine.

“You are heroes!!!” Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov wrote on Telegram, referring to crews who restored utilities in Ukraine’s second-biggest city.

“Thanks to everyone who did everything possible on this most difficult night for Kharkiv to normalize the life of the city as soon as possible.” The buoyant mood was also captured by a defiant President Volodymyr Zelenskyy late Sunday on social media.

“Do you still think you can intimidate, break us, force us to make concessions?” Zelenskyy asked. “Cold, hunger, darkness and thirst for us are not as scary and deadly as your friends’ and brotherhood.” In the end, he exclaimed: “We will be with gas, lights, water and food and WITHOUT you!”

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