Ukraine occupied several more northeastern villages on Monday as the aggressor counterattack gathered momentum and withdrew troops overwhelmed by Moscow from the region.
An official with Russia stationed in the Kharkiv region said Ukrainian forces outnumbered Russian forces by 8 to 1 and had entered the Russian border. “The situation is getting harder by the minute,” Vitaly Gantchev told the state-run Russia 24 TV channel on Monday.
Kyiv’s sudden momentum comes after months of little movement apart from small Russian gains in the Donbass region. caused a rare public criticism of the war.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the efforts of the military on the 200th day of the war.
“The world is moved. The enemy is panicking,” Zelensky said. “Ukraine is proud of you, believes in you, prays for you and is waiting for you.”
War Institute: Ukraine is ‘routing’ Russian troops
The Washington-based War Research Institute released an assessment Monday that the Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kharkiv “has routed Russian forces and collapsed Russia’s northern Donbass axis.” Rather than conducting a controlled withdrawal, Russian forces are “hurrying away” through the southeastern part of Kharkiv Oblast, escaping the encirclement around Izyum.
“Ukrainian forces have penetrated Russian lines to a maximum depth (45 miles) in some places and occupied more than 1,150 square miles of territory in the last five days since September 6. April.” Rating says:
Russian Official: ‘Complete Surrender’ of Ukrainian Forces May be Demanded
Russia’s former president and prime minister on Monday dismissed reports about Ukraine’s interests, warning that the Kremlin could eventually demand the Kyiv regime’s “total surrender”. Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of his country’s Security Council, hinted that Zelensky had refused to engage in dialogue “with those who offer an ultimatum.”
“The current ultimatum is a warm-up for children and a preview of future demands,” Medvedev said. “He (Zelensky) knows them: the complete surrender of the Kyiv regime on Russian terms,” Medvedev warned.
Kremlin spokesman vague about Putin’s military confidence
Asked whether the country’s military leadership continued to enjoy Putin’s support, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Special military operations will continue and all the goals initially set will be achieved. Peskov declined to comment on reports that the commander of the Western Military District had been dismissed, saying it was a matter for the Russian Defense Ministry.
Russia’s Defense Ministry on Sunday announced a “reorganization” of Russian forces in the Kharkov region to step up its efforts in Donetsk.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY. Ukraine update: Ukrainian counterattack reaches Russian border