after achieving it "great progress" In Kharkiv.. Ukrainian forces intend to expand their operations to the Crimea
The Ukrainian authorities announced that their military operations currently taking place in the Kharkiv province will expand to include other regions, including the Crimea. This comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that his country’s forces were able to recover 6,000 square kilometers from Russian forces in the south and east of the country.
During an interview with Al Jazeera, the governor of Ukraine’s Lugansk Province, Sergey Gaidai, said that the hostilities would expand to include regions, including the Crimea.
Gaidai stressed that the results achieved by the Ukrainian forces are due to their use of modern military methods that the Russian forces are not accustomed to, as he put it.
The command of the Ukrainian Military Southern District had said that it had managed to recover 13 villages and towns in the Kherson region, stressing that the army advanced 8 kilometers deep into the front.
The region witnessed intense bombardment of the Russian army’s supply lines and logistical centers two weeks ago, and an attack on the Russian defense lines.
Reuters quoted a senior US military official as saying that Russian forces had crossed the border back to Russia, and that Moscow had lost many of its gains in Kharkiv, adding that Russia’s decision to abandon military equipment during the withdrawal indicated a chaos in command and control.
According to the official, the low morale of Russian soldiers and logistical problems contributed to the recent Russian retreat.
On the other hand, RIA Novosti quoted the head of the pro-Russian administration of the Kharkiv region, Vitaly Ganchev, as saying that the number of Ukrainian militants who were heading towards Kharkiv was about 8 times greater, so the forces were withdrawn to preserve the personnel.
The Russian Defense Ministry also announced the killing of about 250 Ukrainian soldiers during a raid of its air forces on Ukrainian forces in the cities of Kobyansk and Izyum, Kharkiv Province.
The Russian Defense Ministry broadcast video clips, which it said were military operations in which the marines of the Pacific Fleet participated, noting that the strikes targeted Ukrainian army positions last Sunday, without specifying their location.
On the other hand, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the Ukrainian counter-offensive is still in its early days, but that the Ukrainian forces managed to achieve “significant progress”, especially in the north-east of the country.
Blinken attributed – during a press conference in the Mexican capital – the recent developments to the military support provided by Washington, and what he described as the “valor and flexibility” of the Ukrainian forces.
“The counterattack is still in its early days, so I think it would be a mistake to predict exactly where it is going,” he added.
For his part, EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said he had discussed with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to encourage the progress of Ukraine’s counter-offensive to restore its territorial integrity.
Borrell stressed – in a tweet on Twitter – that the EU’s support will continue unabated, adding that the EU’s strategy is to help Ukraine fight and pressure Russia by imposing sanctions on it and supporting partners around the world.
Kuleba also mentioned that Borrell called him to express his admiration and respect for the Ukrainian Defense Forces, as they liberate more land from Russian occupation.
He indicated that he discussed with Borrell additional ways in which the European Union can help Ukraine to contribute to the closer prospects of peace, adding that he requested more arms and financial aid.
Meanwhile, the American Wall Street Journal reported that Ukraine had expressed its desire to obtain weapons from the United States and its allies, to go to war with Russia in the long term.
The newspaper quoted a document that the US administration has shared with dozens of lawmakers, that the Ukrainian requests include acquiring the tactical missile system known as ATACMS, which has a range of 190 miles.
The newspaper said that the Biden administration refused to provide this system to the Ukrainians due to fears that Kyiv could use it to strike Russian territory and provoke a wider conflict with the West.
It added that the Ukrainian list includes 29 types of weapons and ammunition systems, tanks, drones, artillery, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and 2,000 HIMARS missiles.