Ukrainian military claims chain of victories

The Ukrainian military on Monday announced new successes in its counter-offensive on the eastern front, but the progress, while less spectacular, means it wants to fight “until it achieves its objectives” against Russia in the south.

In the east, the Ukrainian military announced that “the liberation of local governments from Russian invaders continues in Kharkiv and Donetsk regions.”

In Kherson, the same day it said it would recapture 500 km2 of territory in two weeks, giving its first quantitative assessment of its progress in the south.

In total, Ukraine claims to have captured about 3000 km2 of territory since early September, mainly near Kharkiv in the northeast.

On June 2, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted that nearly 125,000 km2 were in Russian hands, including the 43,000 km2 (the entire Crimea and Donbass basin) lost prior to the February 24 invasion.

On the entire front line, the Ukrainian army announced on Monday that it had “succeeded in repelling the enemy from more than twenty locations” in 24 hours, adding that “Russian troops are hastily abandoning their positions and fleeing.”

“We’ve been waiting for them for months.”

On Sunday morning, 61-year-old Nadia Nesolena was on the streets when the first Ukrainian soldiers entered Issyum in the northeast, which before the war had a population of nearly 50,000 and became a key supply point for logistics and Russian troops.

“We welcomed them with tears in our eyes. We have been waiting for them for months (…) and we are very happy,” he told AFP on Sunday morning. The Russian occupation was “very difficult, but we were lucky to have a base and a house with food”.

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The loss of the city could seriously counter Moscow’s military ambitions in eastern Ukraine, military experts say.

“Ukraine has inflicted a major operational defeat on Russia by recapturing almost all of the Kharkiv region (…), but the current counteroffensive will not end the war”, however the ISW (Institute for the Study of War) maintains.

“Ukrainian soldiers have also landed again in Lugansk Oblast,” where pro-Russian separatists, like neighboring Donetsk, unilaterally established a “republic” in 2014, the US think tank noted.

Occupation officials in the Kharkiv region said they had moved to Russia’s Belgorod province near the border to help deal with the influx of refugees, according to Russian news agencies.

But on Monday, the Russians said they had bombed the Kubiansk and Izium sectors, not far from the Ukrainian-held city of Kharkiv.

The Russian offensive, which began last February and will continue until “targets are reached,” hit the Kremlin.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Russian president, warned that there were currently “no opportunities for negotiations” between Moscow and Kiev.

“Winning” in the South

The Ukrainian military first announced a counteroffensive in the south, which has seen lightning advances in the Kharkiv region over the past week.

Also in the Kherson region, “our gains in the last two weeks have been very convincing,” Natalia Goumeniouk, a military spokeswoman for the south, said on Monday.

Vyssokopilia, Novovoznesneske, Bilogirka, Myrolioubivka and Sukhyi Stavok were “liberated from the occupiers,” the province’s governor, Yaroslav Yanosevych, listed in the afternoon.

Kirill Stremoussov, deputy head of the Russian occupation in Kherson, confirmed for his part that the situation was “under Russian control”. According to him, “an evolution like Kharkiv is simply impossible”.

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Still further south, the situation is dire at the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia, where six of its reactors have just been shut down.

In a telephone interview with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of the “catastrophic consequences” that “regular Ukrainian attacks” could have on the complex, “including the placement of radioactive waste.”

In response, Mr. Macron demanded that the Russian military withdraw all its weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is in talks with the two belligerents to set up a safety zone around the installations, however noted positive signals on Monday.

Its general manager Raffaele Croci said, “I have seen signs that show they are interested in such a deal”.

Electricity was partially restored

Eastern, northern, southern and central Ukraine suffered massive power outages on Sunday evening, with power partially restored due to Russian strikes in kyiv.

In the Kharkiv region, “80%” of electricity and water supplies have been restored, Ukrainian officials said on Monday.

In Geneva, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights raised its voice against Russia on Monday.

“Intimidation, restrictions and economic sanctions against people expressing their opposition to the war in Ukraine compromise the exercise of fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Russian constitution,” Acting High Commissioner Nada al-Nashif condemned.

This article was published automatically. Sources: ats / afp

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