How Ukraine dealt a blow to Russian forces – Deltaplex News

(NEW YORK) — Ukrainian troops responded to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call to retake land claimed by Russian forces with an aggressive counteroffensive this weekend in the country’s northeastern region.

Ukrainian officials said they chased Russian forces in two key areas of the Kharkiv region.

And Ukrainian officials said they weren’t going to let go.

ABC News’ Tom Soufi Burridge, who is in Kyiv, spoke with “Start Here” about this major turning point in the war with Russia and how it happened.

TOM SOUFI BURRIDGE: This is a breathtaking decision from the Ukrainians. So, people may have heard about the counter-offensive in recent days. We’ve talked a lot about that with regard to southern Ukraine. At the beginning of the war, Russia occupied a large part of the territory in the south, north of the Crimean peninsula. Now the Ukrainians started pushing a few weeks ago. So they were taking a few villages, not much. He was advancing slowly. There was a bit of a media blackout. And then suddenly, in the middle of this week, we had a huge breakthrough from the Ukrainians and actually it was in the northeast.

It looks like they were kind of distracting the Russians in the south, getting their attention there, and then they hit the Russians hard in the northeast and really seemed to have caught them completely off guard. I mean, we see videos online of abandoned Russian tanks in these towns and villages that the Ukrainians took over as if the Russians had fled in a hurry. And Ukrainians, it really should be said in the northeast, not far from the second largest city called Kharkiv. The Ukrainians smashed and took huge amounts of territory, dozens of villages, [and] at least three cities, including a key strategic city among them. And the Ukrainians [are] say that this is equivalent to about a thousand square kilometers of territory. Unbelievable.

START HERE: The first question that comes to mind is how is this possible?

Burridge: Well, one of the, one of the reasons is that the United States has supplied arms and weapons from other allied nations. This definitely turned the tide of this war.

For weeks, even months, you know, these weapons – and we’re talking about heavy weapons, rocket systems – to hit targets behind Russian lines, ammunition depots, command and control centers that are used to operate the Russian war machine. This has been happening for a while now. We have seen the evidence. We’ve seen the Ukrainians hit all of these key targets and infrastructure to block off Russian supply lines so they can’t supply their troops so easily in certain areas, especially around the rivers. And this was done very effectively by the Ukrainians. Exactly how they punch the lines in this particular area, we just don’t know at this point.

The Ukrainians have set up a fairly effective kind of media. Blackouts might not be the right word, but it’s kind of shutting down all access to the frontlines. They really didn’t let the reporters in. The amount of information we get is pretty slow so we’re still trying to get an idea of ​​how they did this. But it is remarkable. I think this shows the confidence of Ukrainians, [and] the morale of Ukrainians. I think it also shows how overstretched the Russian forces are.

US intelligence has been telling us that for a while now. It’s proof of that, but I think it really shows how clearly the Ukrainians seem to have the momentum, and they’re moving forward now.

START HERE: Because there’s not a good way to verify a lot of this, Russia actually said that it’s not all hasty retreats. They admitted they were pulling out of some of these positions, but some they say are kind of planned consolidations as they said with their original retreats. Overall, though, Tom, can you just help me get an idea of ​​where the Ukrainian military is heading from here? What will their endgame be? Because Zelensky says he wants it all back.

Burridge: At the moment, the Ukrainians are pushing to take over the entire Kharkiv region in the northeast. It will be extremely important. Once again, a blow for Putin and the Kremlin. Beyond that, politically, they want to recover all their land. They are far from doing that. So we cannot get carried away by ourselves. It’s Russia. We are talking about a huge military machine. But we are already seeing the Russian response: retaliation hitting power lines, hitting power plants, causing massive blackouts across the country. It is worth adding here that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, we have all heard about it, the concerns there.

Still, [there were] alarming developments over the weekend, more shelling in the area. So basically the plant lost all of its external power supply and momentarily they had to shut down the last remaining reactor. Since then, they have effectively recovered the external power line. But the UN’s nuclear watchdog is warning very clearly this weekend that while the bombardment doesn’t stop the possibility of a nuclear accident, it is very real.

Going forward, it remains to be seen if the Ukrainians can consolidate these gains, take even more territory, or if Russia will find a way to retaliate.

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