The Ukrainians won important victories at Kharkiv. The Russians agree to withdraw from Izium, but say it is a ‘voluntary regroup’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced Friday that Kiev’s forces had recaptured 30 towns from Russian troops in the country’s northeast, where Moscow has sent reinforcements to counter the counteroffensive. According to estimates by the Institute for War Studies, the territorial gains of the Ukrainians in the Kharkiv region reached 2,500 square kilometers.

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The Russian Defense Ministry acknowledges the withdrawal from Izium, but says it is a voluntary restructuring

Update 18.25 The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Saturday a “redeployment” of its forces in eastern Ukraine to withdraw from the Kharkiv region – where the Ukrainian army has been conducting a successful offensive – to the Donetsk People’s Republic, AFP and EFE. Information taken from Agerpres.

“In order to achieve the objectives of the special military operation, it was decided to regroup troops from the Balaklia and Isium regions to reinforce the forces around Donetsk,” one of the pro-Russian separatist capitals, the ministry said in a statement. .

According to the cited source, Russian armed forces “destroyed more than 2,000 Ukrainian and foreign fighters, as well as 100 armored vehicles and artillery” over the past three days.

Ukrainian forces are recording more and more successes in counterattacks against Russian troops, according to Ukrainian media and some sources in British intelligence services, dpa reported on Saturday.

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The Russians would have fled from Isium

Update 14.00 The Russians fled from Issium, the main city of the Kharkiv region. This information comes from a well-known Russian vlogger who visited the region to campaign for the invasion.

“Izium, Kharkiv region, Ukraine. City surrendered,” he wrote in a telegram.

A Kyiv Independent reporter also tweeted that Isium had been recaptured.

Also, the city of Kubiansk was liberated by the Ukrainians.

Kharkiv Region Governor Oleg Sinekupov posted a video on Telegram announcing that the Ukrainian flag had also been raised in the city of Balaklia.

“Boys and girls of the armed forces, today you are making a new history of independent Ukraine, we are proud of you. It will continue…” Sinekupov wrote in a telegram.

ISW: Ukraine reclaims 2,500 km2 in Kharkiv

Update 10.21 The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) estimates that Ukrainian forces have recaptured 2,500 square kilometers of territory in the Kharkiv region since the counteroffensive began in September.

Ukrainians could break Russian communications in the Izium area, which would lead to the collapse of this front.

Ukrainian soldiers recaptured Kharkiv. Photo: Profimedia

German Foreign Minister visits Kiev

Update 10.04 German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbach arrived in Kyiv, her second visit to Ukraine since the Russian invasion of the country began on February 24, dpa reported.

The presence of the head of German diplomacy in this country aims to show that “we will continue to be with Ukraine as long as necessary – in addition to providing weapons, as well as humanitarian and financial assistance,” Annalena Baerbach said on Saturday.

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Apart from financial and military aid, Germany wants to help Kiev carry out demining operations and “to shed light on committed war crimes, in particular by sending experts, including a lawyer,” according to a press release cited by AFP.

“It’s clear to me that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin believes in the fact that Ukraine’s suffering will wear us down,” Berbach warns.

Washington accuses Moscow of not respecting Navalny’s rights

Update 07.41 Washington has accused Moscow of not respecting the rights of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, a key critic of Vladimir Putin.

“The United States is deeply concerned about the fact that the Russian government is arbitrarily and increasingly interfering with the rights of Alexei Navalny,” said US State Department spokesman Ned Price.

“Prison authorities prevent him from preparing his defense and communicating freely with his lawyer,” for example, by monitoring their meetings or delaying the transfer of their documents, he explained.

Ned Price continued that this was a “new source of politically motivated harassment” targeting Alexei Navalny, as well as his “repeated isolation for minor offenses”.

This highlights the “fear felt by those who speak the truth” in Russia, who once again called for the immediate release of the dissident.

On Thursday, Alexei Navalny said he had lost confidential conversations with his lawyers.

Additionally, according to him, every document exchanged with his security is now subject to a “three-day check” by the jail administration.

“In fact, there was nothing formal about my self-defense rights, which were already very illusory,” he alleged.

Navalny is serving a nine-year prison sentence for parole violation, fraud and contempt of court charges, which he denies.

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Zelesnki: 30 towns liberated

“So far, the Ukrainian armed forces have liberated and taken control of more than 30 areas in the Kharkiv region”, on the border with Russia, Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his evening video speech broadcast on social networks, Agerpres reported.

Despite territorial gains by Ukrainian forces, the governor of Kharkiv region, Oleg Sinekubov, urged residents who had fled to not return, as villages recaptured from the Russians lacked electricity and gas.

In turn, the Russian press reported on the deployment of reinforcements in this direction, broadcasting videos of armored vehicles, howitzers and trucks driving in large numbers on ungeographic roads. Moscow has not commented on this development, content to count the heavy losses the Russian military has inflicted on Ukrainians every day.

In a sign of Ukrainian progress, pro-Russian authorities in occupied territories in the region announced on Friday the evacuation of residents to Moscow or other areas under Russian control.

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