Ukrainian forces continue to push back the Russians

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Animated map of the counter-offensive, September 5–25
Image: Immanuelle, Cdjp1, Bacon Noodles, & Physeters.

In the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war, Ukraine's Kharkiv counter-offensive continued to push back the Russian military. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy claims Ukrainian forces have taken back 6,000 square kilometers (2,400 square miles) of Ukrainian territory. The U.S. said many Russian soldiers have left Ukraine, as Russia admitted that the front had been broken. While it has been confirmed that over 1,000 people have died, the true figure could be much higher. The Kremlin has refused peace negotiations and stated that Russia will continue to achieve their goals in the special military operation.

Ukrainian forces continued advancing, and, on 13 September, took back Vovchansk, according to Ukraine's border guard services. While not verified, the pre-occupation mayor of Melitopol has said Russian troops had begun to withdraw. Reportedly, if Melitopol is captured, the Ukrainians could disrupt the supply line in the east Donbas region. In the recently recaptured village of Chkalovske, a citizen, Svitlana Honchar, talked about the Russians fleeing: "They left like the wind. They were fleeing by any means they could." However, some were left behind, as she adds, "They were trying to catch up." President Zelenskyy also promised a "return to normalcy" for the recent areas that were re-captured. Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Maliar said, Ukraine was trying to get Russian troops to surrender. Ahead of their advance, they threw flyers saying, "Russians use you as cannon fodder. Your life doesn’t mean anything for them. You don’t need this war. Surrender to Armed Forces of Ukraine."

Ukrainian officials were also investigating the liberated areas to discover any atrocities and assess alleged war crimes committed by the Russians. In the city of Balakliya, local officials reported that the Russians set up a "torture chamber" at the local police station. Allegedly, Russian forces "always kept at least 40 people captive" in the area.

A destroyed Russian military vehicle in recaptured Izium on September 15
Image: Ministry of Defence (Ukraine).

Nationalism in Ukraine remained strong, as the government released videos of burning Russian flags and the charred tanks left behind. They shot a video of Ukrainians ripping a sign that said, "We are one people with Russia." Other things which were found left behind in liberated territories include purposely damaged weapons and vehicles, especially abandoned tanks.

On 25 September, President Zelenskyy released a statement saying the Kharkiv fighting had been fierce, but Ukrainian forces continue to succeed. "This is the Donetsk region, this is our Kharkiv region. This is the Kherson region, and also the Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia regions," Zelenskyy said. Ukraine also secured many bridges around the Oskil river, located in Kharkiv. The southern area of Ukraine also has heavy fighting, as the Ukrainians hope to re-capture a Russian controlled town.

In Russia, the war began to be criticized. Vladimir Putin certified an act which calls for 300,000 Russian reservists, which was met with many huge protests and criticism from top lawmakers in the country. In response, Zelenskyy called the Russo-Ukrainian war "a war that one man wants".

Russia has also released a new referendum saying they will annex four Ukrainian territories they have invaded, causing fear in Ukraine.

Ukrainian allies, including the United States, remained hesitant to declare victory, as Russia still had considerable forces in the area including many missiles and dangerous weapons. The Russians continued to inflict heavy damage, shelling Lozova, which killed three and injured nine. Shelling has also continued in Kharkiv. Biggest of all, the act that calls for 300,000 Russian reserves. For now, however, the Ukrainians seemed to be continuing their push into Russian-occupied Ukraine.