Ukraine invasion: Kyiv continues to consolidate control in Kharkiv area

Ukraine invasion: Kyiv continues to consolidate control in Kharkiv area
Ukraine has made a series of rapid advances in recent days, claiming back territory seized by Russia in the Kharkiv area.
2 min read
15 September, 2022
Away from Ukraine, Russian authorities are also facing challenges in other former Soviet states [source: Getty]

Britain's defence ministry said on Thursday that Ukrainian forces continue to consolidate their control of newly liberated areas of Kharkiv Oblast.

Russian forces have largely withdrawn from the area west of the Oskil River, the British Defence Ministry said in its daily intelligence bulletin on Twitter.

High-value equipment abandoned by retreating Russian forces included capabilities essential to enable Russia's artillery-centric style of warfare, the tweet added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said towns and villages recaptured from Russian forces had been devastated, while a major city struggled to contain damage to its water system from missile attacks by Kremlin's forces.

Kryvyi Rih, the largest city in central Ukraine with an estimated pre-war population of 650,000, was targeted by eight cruise missiles on Wednesday, officials said.

"The water pumping station was destroyed. The river broke through the dam and overflowed its banks. Residential buildings are just a few metres away from the river," Ukrainian legislator Inna Sovsun said on Twitter.

The missile strikes hit the Karachunov reservoir dam, Zelenskiy said in a video address released early on Thursday. The water system had "no military value" and hundreds of thousands of civilians depend on it daily, he said.

The video was released after Zelenskiy's return to Kyiv from the northeast Kharkiv region and following word from his office that his car had collided with a private vehicle in the capital.

"The president was examined by a doctor, no serious injuries were found," presidential spokesman Serhii Nykyforov said in a Facebook post early on Thursday.

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Russian forces suffered a stunning reversal this month after Ukrainian troops made a rapid armoured thrust in the Kharkiv region, forcing a rushed Russian withdrawal.

Zelenskiy on Wednesday made a surprise visit to Izium - until four days ago Russia's main bastion and logistics hub in the region - where he watched as the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag was raised in front of the charred city council building.

"Our law enforcers are already receiving evidence of murder, torture, and abductions of people by the occupiers," Zelenskiy said in his address.

"They only destroyed, only seized, only deported. They left devastated villages, and in some of them there is not a single surviving house," he added.

Russia denies deliberately targeting civilians, and Reuters could not immediately verify the claims.