Ukrainian Forces Liberate Critical Territory As Putin Failures Mount

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A village in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region that was used by occupying Russian soldiers to launch strikes on the city of Kharkiv, which is the second-largest city in Ukraine, has been liberated. The village is Ruska Lozova, and sources for information on its liberation include the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, which stated: “The village of Ruska Lozova in the Kharkiv region was liberated from the occupiers by an assault unit of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, under the leadership of the Commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces, Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrsky. Currently, it is completely under the control of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”

As summarized by the Ukrainian government information source Ukrinform, “The agency said that this is a strategically important settlement located on the Kharkiv-Belgorod highway. It was from this suburb, during the Russian occupation, that the enemy fired at the civilian infrastructure and residential neighborhoods of Kharkiv.” Russian ground troops withdrew from areas including around the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, but elsewhere in Ukraine — including in the Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk regions — Russian forces are continuing their ground offensives. “Russians continue to focus their efforts on holding their positions near the city of Kharkiv and trying to inflict fire damage on units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in certain areas,” according to Ukrainian government sources this week.

The Donetsk region includes Mariupol, where tens of thousands have died amid months-long Russian attacks. The Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol ended up among the final sites for confrontation between Russian and Ukrainian personnel, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy indicated Friday that efforts to evacuate civilians from the plant would be unfolding, although few additional details were available. Hundreds of civilians were apparently there, alongside hundreds of Ukrainian military personnel. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently made a show of ordering Russian troops to blockade the Azovstal premises rather than continue attempts to seize it, although Russian strikes continued following that announcement. In Mariupol as a whole, some 100,000+ civilians apparently remain amid widespread destruction and losses of access to basic necessities such as running water. Deaths from starvation have been reported, adding to the impact of Russian forces’ indiscriminate violence. According to journalist Jack Detsch’s recap of comments from a senior U.S. official, Russia is mostly using unguided bombs against Mariupol.

The U.S., meanwhile, is continuing to prepare substantial assistance for Ukraine consisting of both weapons and economic aid. This week, President Joe Biden asked Congress to pass an additional $33 billion in aid for Ukraine, which would exponentially add to the totals that the U.S. has already provided. Russia, meanwhile, continues to face strategic setbacks — according to The New York Times, “Despite having much shorter supply lines now than they did during the war’s first several weeks in Ukraine’s north, the Russians have not overcome their logistics problem, [a] Pentagon official said, citing slow shipments of food, fuel, weapons and ammunition.” Russians failed to capture Kyiv before moving their ground offensives elsewhere and have sustained high-profile losses like a slew of generals and the large warship named the Moskva, which was apparently the largest Russian warship to be lost in fighting since World War II. Ukrainians struck it before its sinking.