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Ukrainians push back the Russian invaders away from Kharkiv

The Ukrainian military has announced that on Tuesday, they managed to recapture several Russian-occupied villages in the suburbs of the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

The Ukrainian forces are now pressing a major counter-offensive in the northeast of the country. According to Tetiana Apatchenko, 92nd Independent Mechanised Brigade’s press officer, the Ukrainian defenders have managed to recapture the settlements of Cherkaski Tyshky, Ruski Tyshki, Borshchova, and Slobozhanske, north of Kharkiv.

Yuriy Saks, an adviser to Defence Minister of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov, announced that “the Ukrainian army was able to push these war criminals to a line beyond the reach of their artillery.” Until now, Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, experienced relentless bombardment from the first days of the invasion.

In spite of the initial massive assault by the Russian invaders, Ukrainian forces managed to hold the line in many places, and even forced the withdrawal of Russian forces which attempted to take Kyiv. Now the focus of the hostilities is in the east and the south of the country.

The Ukrainian counter-offensive may mark the beginning of a new stage in the war. Pushing the Russians away from Kharkiv, the Ukrainians are now rapidly moving into a striking distance that will allow them to disrupt the invaders’ rear supply lines, which sustain the main Russian forces further down south.

As Neil Melvin of the London-based RUSI think tank assesses, “they’re trying to cut in and behind the Russians to cut off the supply lines, because that’s really one of their (the Russians’) main weaknesses. Ukrainians are getting close to the Russian border. bSo all the gains that the Russians made in the early days in the northeast of Ukraine are increasingly slipping away.

Following their withdrawal from the north of Ukraine, the Russians redeployed their forces to the east of the country and initially managed to form a pocket that threatened the encirclement of Ukrainian forces there from three sides. The determined resistance and pushback from the defenders have by now made that practically impossible in the near future.

In the southeastern city of Mariupol, the Azovstal metallurgical plant remains the last stronghold in the hands of the Ukrainian defenders. Russians have finally permitted the evacuation of civilians who sought refuge there, and most of the reported 1,000 civilians, mostly women and children, were evacuated, although according to Petro Andriushchenko, an aide to Mariupol’s mayor, 100 of them still remain in the bastion.

According to the Azov Regiment, which along with the 36th Independent Marine Infantry Brigade continues in their defiant resistance, the stronghold is under heavy aerial and seaborn bombardment, as well as tank, artillery, and rocket shelling.

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