Zelensky: Ukrainians liberated 6,000 square km of territory in September. US: Many Russian soldiers have withdrawn to Russia

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Since the beginning of September until now, Ukraine has taken back 6,000 square kilometers from the territory conquered by Russian troops, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy claims in his message during the night. Yesterday, the information was that 3,000 kilometers of territory had been recaptured.

At the same time, the Institute for the Study of War in the United States claims that Ukraine has won the battle for Kharkiv. The Ukrainian military has reached the border with Russia, for the first time since the beginning of the invasion.

In his video speech on Monday, President Zelensky said: “From the beginning of September until today, our soldiers have already liberated more than 6,000 square km of the territory of Ukraine – in the east and south. The advance of our troops continues.”

Zelensky thanked several Ukrainian brigades involved in the counter-offensive, describing their fighters as “true heroes”. He did not reveal which Ukrainian towns and villages were liberated. Valerii Marchenko, the mayor of Izium, told the BBC that the Ukrainian army had arrived in his town and raised the Ukrainian flag. Ukrainian forces are looking for Russian soldiers who may be hiding in people’s homes.

The Russian military has abandoned thousands of tons of military equipment and ammunition after the disorderly retreat caused by the Ukrainian army’s lightning counter-offensive in the Kharkiv region, which saw Kiev forces recapture more than 6,000 square kilometers of territory. All the munitions abandoned by the Russians are now to be used against them, a spokesman for the Ukrainian army announced, quoted by the Ukrainian news agency Unian. Being ironic, the Ukrainians say that Russia, the largest supplier of weapons to Ukraine”.

CNN was granted exclusive access to the city of Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region, just a day after footage emerged of soldiers flying the Ukrainian flag on the roof of the city’s town hall. However, the town is far from being safe and under full Ukrainian control, according to a resident who spoke to CNN journalists. On the outskirts of the city, Vasil – who declined to give his last name for security reasons – told CNN that for days “the Russians bombed and bombed” during the fighting.

Russia has been accused of targeting civilian infrastructure in retaliation for battlefield failures. For the first time since February 24, Kiev controls the border with Russia in the Kharkiv region. In one of the liberated cities, Ukrainian soldiers took down a banner put up by the Russians and found a surprise. A poem about heroism by Taras Shevchenko, the national poet of Ukraine. The moment was posted on Twitter by the Minister of Defense from Kyiv. Ukraine’s defense minister has told the Kremlin that his country will only sit down at the negotiating table when all territories are liberated and the borders look like December 1, 1991. Russia has admitted that it has lost key cities in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Moscow describes the withdrawal of its troops from the region in recent days as a “regrouping” to focus on the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine.

This claim was ridiculed even in Russia, with many social media users there describing the withdrawal as “shameful”.

US: Russian forces have largely ceded their gains

Late Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Ukrainian forces had made “significant progress” in their counteroffensive, but added it was too early to predict the outcome. “The Russians maintain very significant forces in Ukraine, as well as equipment and weapons and ammunition, which they continue to use not only against the Ukrainian armed forces, but also against civilians and civilian infrastructure, as we’ve seen,” Blinken said. Russia still owns about a fifth of the country.

A senior U.S. military official speaking on background also said Ukrainians “are obviously fighting hard.”

The military official said that “Ukrainian forces have very likely taken control of Kupiansk and Izyum in addition to smaller villages. Notably, we’re aware of anecdotal reports of abandoned … Russian equipment, which could be indicative of Russia’s disorganized command and control,” according to defense.gov.

After six months of war, Ukraine launched the counteroffensive into the region east of Kharkiv. “On the ground in the vicinity of Kharkiv, we assess that Russian forces have largely ceded their gains to the Ukrainians and have withdrawn to the north and east, many of these forces have moved over the border into Russia,” the senior military official said.

Ukraine has also launched a more limited offensive in the south around Kherson, and the official assessed the push in the south is making more limited gains.

Meanwhile in Russia…

Against this background, one of Vladimir Putin’s biggest supporters in Moscow’s state media is calling for the generals who allowed the withdrawal of troops from Ukrainian territories to be executed. On Monday, Volodymyr Solovyov lashed out at the Kremlin’s military chiefs. He called for the generals who allowed troops to withdraw from Ukraine to be shot.

On the other hand, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow is urging Russians to pray for Vladimir Putin, the country’s military commanders and politicians. Divine help is needed for them to make the right decisions in the war in Ukraine, the patriarch claims.
As Russian forces suffer a series of defeats in Ukraine, Moscow is trying to highlight Beijing’s support for the invasion before Vladimir Putin meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping this week. In Russia, both Russian and Chinese officials are fronting a united front ahead of a meeting between Putin and Xi at a summit in Uzbekistan that will be the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since the start of the invasion of Ukraine.

IMF may give Ukraine $1.4 billion in emergency aid

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will hold talks with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Tuesday, two sources told Reuters. The IMF’s board of directors discussed a plan that could provide Ukraine with $1.4 billion in emergency aid through the IMF’s rapid financing facility. Ukrainian officials have said they are pursuing an IMF program worth $15-20 billion, although such a large sum is considered unlikely to win IMF approval. In an informal session on Monday, the IMF’s board of directors discussed a plan that could provide Ukraine with $1.4 billion in emergency aid through the IMF’s rapid financing facility.

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