Ukraine’s second-largest city and several strategic hubs were liberated in the operation.
A surprise counteroffensive over the weekend saw Ukrainian troops push into areas around Kharkiv in the country’s northeast, liberating villages and cities, and catching Russian troops flat-footed. The swift maneuvers threatened to encircle a portion of the Russian army and led them to rapidly abandon positions and military hardware as Ukrainian troops closed in.
The counteroffensive has recaptured around 1,160 square miles of territory since it began in earnest earlier this month, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyy told the Associated Press Sunday. The eastward push caught Russian forces off-guard and forced several units to abandon their posts as Ukrainian troops took control of the strategic cities of Izyum, Balakliya, and Kupiansk — critical areas for the Russian supply and logistics lines in the Donbas region.