Over the weekend, Ukraine continued its fierce counter-offensive on the eastern front, which saw Russian lines crumble in Kharkiv. Ukrainian Armed Forces regained power 3,000 km2 since early September, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Valery Zaluzhny announced on September 11, Suspline News reported.
Among the 40 settlements liberated in recent days is the town of Izyum, a strategically important railway hub in Kharkiv Oblast, which Russian forces captured in the spring. As such, Russian troops retreated almost entirely out of the Kharkiv region, Hromadske reported. In fact, Ukraine succeeded in take over more territory in the last five days that Russia has been able to occupy since April, noted the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
“As a result of the successful counteroffensive of our troops in the direction of Kharkiv, Russian troops are frantically leaving their positions and fleeing with the spoils deep into the temporarily occupied territories or into the territory of the Russian Federation”, said the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine published on Facebook.
The Ukrainian counteroffensive in the southern Kherson region also saw Russian troops abandon several settlements over the weekend, according to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Ukraine broke through the Russian defense line in Kherson on August 29, forcing Moscow to refocus on the south and leaving the Vulnerable Kharkiv Front. Ukraine then took the opportunity to launch the eastern counter-offensive, catching Russia off guard.
The victories are a huge morale boost for Ukraine as the war dragged into its 200th day on 9/11. To be sure, Ukraine’s successes are further draining the morale of Russian troops. Indeed, due to the success of the counter-offensive, the Kremlin postponed illegal annexation referendums in the occupied territories of Kherson, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia and the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, Meduza reported. Citing sources close to the Kremlin, Meduza claims that Kremlin-linked political technologists who worked in the Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia regions have already been recalled to Russia.
Nevertheless, intense fighting continues in the Izyum and Donbass regions and Russian forces targeted infrastructure in the east, causing power cuts in parts of Kharkiv oblast, Poltava oblast and Sumy oblast, Ukrainian Pravda reported. This includes a strike against Ukraine’s second-largest thermal power plant (TPP) in Kharkiv, Mayor Ihor Terekhov said, according to the Kyiv Independent.
The Main Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Defense also expressed concern that Moscow will launch missile strikes on the occupied nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia (ZNPP) and the nearby town of Energodar in the near future and “plans to blame Ukraine for it”.
Additionally, Russia continues to launch attacks on positions across Ukraine, launching 16 missile attacks and three airstrikes by 6 p.m. on September 11, hitting 15 settlements.
“A new threat of air strikes and missiles remains on the whole territory of Ukraine,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces said.