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Ukraine Says Its Counterattack Against Russia Has Made Big Gains

Story Highlights
  • Ukrainian forces seemed to have taken back the town of Verbivka. They posted geolocated video showing dead Russian soldiers there.
  • The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a think tank in Washington, said on Wednesday that the Ukrainian military seemed to have made a lot of progress.

Ukraine said yesterday that it had made a military breakthrough in its fight against Russian invaders, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced another $2.8 billion in military aid during a surprise visit to Kyiv.

Ukraine said that its forces made gains in the north, south, and east, taking back land that Russia had taken when it attacked almost seven months ago. Russia had hoped for a quick victory when it attacked.

Oleksiy Gromov, a senior military official, said that Kyiv’s forces went 50 kilometres past Russian lines and “liberated” more than 20 towns and villages near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city.

Late on Wednesday, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, said that his troops had taken back several towns and villages in the Kharkiv area, but he didn’t say what their names were.

Gromov said that in the Kharkiv area, more than 700 square kilometres had been taken back. A Russian official said that Moscow’s troops had fought hard and stopped Kiev’s troops from taking at least one important town.

Ukraine is also fighting back on the southern front, including in the city of Kherson, which is in Russian hands.

Gromov said that in the south, Kiev’s troops had gotten “deep into the enemy’s defences, defences that were two to several dozens of kilometres long.” “A number of settlements have been taken back,” he said, but he didn’t say more.

AFP says that Ukrainian troops have made gains in the eastern Donbas region, such as near Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.

Yesterday, there was also a lot of fighting near the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. This was after Kyiv said that the plant might have to be shut down to avoid a disaster.

If this Ukrainian push is confirmed and the gains are kept, it would be a big boost for Kyiv, which wants to show its Western backers that it can use force to change the situation on the ground and deserves more help.

Amid threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop all energy shipments to Europe if Brussels goes ahead with a plan to cap the price of Russian gas, there is more pressure on Kyiv to show that before winter comes.

Yesterday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken went to Ukraine and announced that Ukraine and 18 other countries that might be attacked by Russia in the future will get a total of $2.8 billion in new foreign military aid. This is good news for Kyiv.

While Ukraine said it was making progress, Russia said it had hit five command posts and shot down 13 drones on the battlefield yesterday.

At a forum in Moscow, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that Russia had handled Western sanctions over the war better than expected. He estimated that Russia’s GDP had dropped by just over 1% from the same time last year to the same time this year.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a think tank in Washington, said on Wednesday that the Ukrainian military seemed to have made a lot of progress.

“Ukrainian forces probably used tactical surprise to move at least 20 km into Russian-held territory in the eastern Kharkiv Oblast on September 7, retaking about 400 square kilometres of land,” the ISW said.

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