A regional governor stated on Saturday that Ukrainian forces had launched a counteroffensive near the Russian-held town of Izium in eastern Ukraine, potentially delaying Moscow’s intentions to conquer the entire Donbas area.
After failing to reach the capital Kyiv from the north in the early weeks of the war, Russian forces announced a ‘second phase’ of their invasion on April 19, focusing much of their firepower on the Donbas.
However, Ukraine has been reclaiming territory in its northeast, driving Russians out of Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city. By maintaining pressure on Izium and Russian supply lines, Moscow will find it more difficult to encircle battle-hardened Ukrainian troops on the Donbas’ eastern front.
In exchange for the release of Russian prisoners of war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy claimed intricate talks were underway to find a method to evacuate a large number of wounded soldiers from a besieged steel works in the port of Mariupol.
Hundreds of Ukrainian forces are still holding out at the Azovstal steel complex after weeks of Russian bombing. Mariupol, which has seen the most intense combat in nearly three months of war, is now in Russian control.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his generals, according to Western military analysts, failed to foresee such fierce Ukrainian resistance when they launched the assault on February 24.
Russia has been punished by economic sanctions in addition to losing a big number of personnel and military equipment. In a statement released on Saturday, the Group of Seven top Western countries agreed to ‘intensify economic and diplomatic pressure on Russia’ and to provide more arms to Ukraine.
‘The hottest spot remains the Izium direction,’ regional governor Oleh Sinegubov remarked on social media in response to the recent developments in eastern Ukraine.
‘There, our military forces have turned to a defensive posture. On some fronts, the enemy is withdrawing, and this is due to the nature of our military forces,’ he remarked.