Russian Army Forced To Retreat Across South & East Ukraine

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Ukrainian soldiers are making significant advances in eastern and southern portions of the country — in regions where Putin recently proclaimed annexations, ostensibly tacking the territory onto Russia itself, despite the fact that his military didn’t control the entirety of these locales even before recent developments.

The annexation announcements followed sham referendums in each of the disputed regions. During the voting process in which the question of politically joining Russia was put to local residents, armed men were involved in the process of collecting votes, as if the preordained nature of the eventual results wasn’t already sufficiently obvious. Regions with Ukrainian advances cited in a new report from The Washington Post include Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kherson, although the extent of Ukrainian success on the battlefield varies in each area. Russian control apparently remains most pronounced in Luhansk, although Ukrainians are undercutting the Russian military’s range of seized territory across the country.

Kherson was among the first areas in Ukraine where Russian soldiers saw strategic success earlier in the war, but now, Ukrainian forces are hoping to eventually reach the regional capital (which is also called Kherson). “Ukrainian forces pushed ahead dozens of miles into the southern Kherson region, liberating towns and villages and re-creating scenes from mid-September when they swept into Kharkiv and were greeted by joyful residents who had spent many months under Russian occupation,” per The Washington Post. Russian military leadership acknowledged Ukrainian advances near settlements in the Kherson region called Zolota Balka and Oleksandrivka, and a list of liberated settlements in the region available from Ukrainian sources including the Ukrainian news outlet The Kyiv Independent includes Davydiv Brod, Starosillia, Arkhanhelske, Velyka Oleksandrivka, and Myroliubivka.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has become a fixture in international efforts to assemble support for Ukraine throughout the war, said a brigade from his hometown liberated at least two of those jurisdictions. One of the freed settlements, spelled in the Post as Davydiv Brid and apparently referring to the same place as the slightly differently spelled locale, was used for Russian military supply lines, according to the Post. At this point, Ukrainian troops have evidently pushed Russian soldiers from most of the Kharkiv region in counter-offensive operations that were renewed in earnest not long before the sham referendums and annexation announcements, which were widely condemned by international leaders. Ukrainian troops also recently reclaimed the strategically important city of Lyman in Donetsk, inflicting heavy casualties on thousands of Russian troops who were apparently operating in the area.

Details included in the Post indicate Russian soldiers eventually leaving Lyman amid the Ukrainian advance happened against commanders’ directives, although Russian statements characterized the exit from the city as an essentially strategic move. “But in Lyman, we think that the Russian troops retreated despite orders to defend and remain,” a Western official said. “Relinquishing this area is exactly what the Kremlin did not want to happen.” A statement on Twitter from the Ukrainian defense ministry characterized developments in Lyman as “Izyum 2.0” after Ukrainian soldiers also reclaimed that city, which Russian soldiers were using to stage attacks on nearby areas. “We thank the “Ministry of Defense” of [Russia] for successful cooperation in organizing the “Izyum 2.0″ exercise,” the ministry said. “Almost all russian troops deployed to Lyman were successfully redeployed either into body bags or into [Ukrainian] captivity. We have one question for you: Would you like a repeat?”