(KHARKOV, Ukraine) – Ukraine claimed important territorial gains this Saturday, including the city of Kupiansk (east), as part of a military counteroffensive against Russia, which decided to regroup its forces on the eastern front.
“Kupiansk is Ukraine,” wrote a regional official on social networks, announcing the reconquest of that town in the Kharkov region (east), bordering Russia, taken by Moscow troops shortly after the start of the invasion of Ukraine. , on February 24.
The Ukrainian special forces published images showing their fighters “in Kupiansk, which was and always will be Ukrainian.”
The total reconquest of this city of 27,000 inhabitants would be a severe blow for Moscow, since it is key to supplying other Russian positions on the Eastern Front.
Shortly after that announcement, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that it had decided to “regroup” its forces, moving troops from the Kharkov region “to shore up our efforts along the Donetsk front,” further south.
Situation “very difficult”
The leader of the pro-Russian separatist region of Donetsk, Denis Pushilin, acknowledged that the situation was “very difficult” in that area, which together with Lugansk forms the Donbas basin, partially controlled by the pro-Russian separatists since 2014 and epicenter of the Russian offensive in recent months.
Pushilin specifically cited the case of the city of Lyman, conquered in late May by Russian troops, and reported fighting in “several other towns” in the north of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic,” according to a Telegram video.
“We are simply obliged to stay in Donbas and we will. Of course, we are going to win,” he said.
Also the leader of the Russian administration installed in Izium, in the Kharkov region, declared that the situation in that area was “very difficult”.
“In the last two weeks, the city has been shelled by Ukrainian forces … which is causing serious destruction and many deaths and injuries,” Vladislav Sokolov told the Russian public news agency RIA Novosti.
Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the east is liberating “more towns and villages,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said.
“Their bravery, coupled with Western military support, is yielding extraordinary results,” he added.
“It is crucial to continue sending weapons to Ukraine. Defeating Russia on the battlefield means a victory for peace in Ukraine,” he insisted.
Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky announced on Friday that his troops had retaken some 30 towns in the Kharkov region as part of the counteroffensive.
Ukrainian forces are also “advancing along the southern front in various sections, between two and several tens of kilometers,” Nataliya Gumenyuk, spokeswoman for the southern command of the Ukrainian army, said on Saturday.
Russian agencies reported six explosions in Nova Jakovka, a town controlled by Russian forces in that region.
Support from Germany
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock paid a surprise visit to kyiv on Saturday to show that Ukrainians “can continue to count on us,” she said in a statement.
Germany will continue to support kyiv “as long as necessary, with arms supplies and humanitarian and financial support,” he added.
In recent weeks, Germany has sent howitzers, rocket launchers and anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine, part of an arsenal of Western-supplied weaponry that observers say may have undermined Russia’s military capabilities.
His visit followed that of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who pledged nearly $3 billion in military aid to Ukraine and neighboring countries on Thursday.