Ukraine Pushes ‘Pace,’ Stabilization In Eastern Offensive To Deny Russia ‘Any Foothold’ | Radio Free Europe

by UKCHP_Admin

Ukrainian officials have announced efforts to urgently stabilize recently retaken eastern territory and stressed the need for rapid gains in order to deny Russia “any foothold on Ukrainian soil” with Russia’s invasion nearing the seven-month mark.

The rapid gains of recent weeks as Russian forces abandon occupied areas particularly in the region east of Kharkiv have left Ukrainian troops approach parts of the Donbas region long held by Kremlin-backed separatists as Kyiv seeks more Western arms to wage its defense.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address on September 19 that Kyiv’s forces in the Kharkiv region were “stabilizing the situation [and] holding our positions…so firmly that the occupiers are clearly panicking.”

“We are now confident that the occupiers will not have any foothold on Ukrainian soil,” he said.

“The pace is very important now,” Zelenskiy said amid rapidly falling temperatures in the region and concerns about the basic needs of residents who have remained. “The pace of stabilization in the liberated areas. The pace of movement of our troops. The pace of restoration of normal life in the liberated territory.”

Zelenskiy said last week that around 150,000 Ukrainians had lived under Russian occupation in the Kharkiv region for the past five months.

Late on September 19, the deputy prime minister in charge of reintegrating recaptured areas, Iryna Vereshchuk, said that the authorities had launched a pilot program of small cash payments to help residents around Kharkiv.

She said each person would receive the equivalent of $33 and thanked the International Red Cross for its financial support of the project.

Zelenskiy has said investigators discovered new evidence of torture amid the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers buried near Izyum, a key city in the Kharkiv region.

The head of the regional military administration around Izyum, Oleh Synyehubov, said on September 19 that most of the 146 bodies exhumed from a mass grave there were civilians and “some of the dead have signs of violent death. There are bodies with tied hands and traces of torture.”

The Kremlin has dismissed allegations of Russian forces committing war crimes there as a “lie.”

Zelenskiy said on September 19 that the local administrative hub of Kupyansk had been retaken from Russian forces.

In another sign of Ukrainian confidence amid the offensive in the east, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Hayday said that Ukrainian forces had retaken control of the village of Bilohorivka and were preparing to retake the entire province.

Bilohorivka is just 10 kilometers or so from the city of Lysychansk, with Russian forces took in July after weeks of intense fighting.

The Ukrainian General Staff on September 20 warned Ukrainians of the threat of Russian air and missile attacks throughout the country and said Ukrainian forces had repelled Russian operations in Mayorsk, Vesele, Kurdyumivka, and Novomykhaylivka.

RFE/RL cannot corroborate battlefield claims in the areas of intense fighting.

British defense intelligence, meanwhile, assessed on September 20 that Ukraine’s “long-range strike capability” against Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters and airfield had forced a relocation of Russian submarines, “undermining” one of Moscow’s main aims in its eight-year occupation of Crimea.

In London, Prime Minister Liz Truss said the United Kingdom next year will meet or exceed the 2.3 billion pounds ($2.63 billion) in military aid spent on Ukraine in 2022, her office said on September 20.

Britain’s military support to Ukraine is likely to include equipment such as multiple-launch rocket systems, her office said in a statement.

“Ukraine’s victories in recent weeks have been inspirational,” the statement said, after Kyiv’s forces pushed the Russians out of almost all of the Kharkiv region in a lightning counteroffensive.

“My message to the people of Ukraine is this: the U.K. will continue to be right behind you every step of the way. Your security is our security.”



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