Russia’s military has suffered yet another crushing defeat, with satellite images showing the burned-out shells of scores of tanks thwarted from crossing a key route near Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense on Wednesday shared images of the destroyed military vehicles littered around the Siverskiy Donets River, an area Russia previously controlled around 25 miles east of Kharkiv.
Some of the still-smoking vehicles were right on the banks of the river, where at least two pontoon bridges appeared to have been blown up to halt the advance.
The Ukraine defense ministry gloated Wednesday that some of the destroyed tanks “bathed in the Siverskiy Donets River, and some were burned by the May sun.”
Reuters said it had confirmed that Ukraine now controls wide swaths of territory around the river after heavy fighting.
“It is burned out, just like all Russian tanks,” a Ukrainian soldier told Reuters near Rubizhne next to the ruins of one Russian tank. “The weapons are helping a lot, the anti-tank ones.”
Ukraine’s advances near Kharkiv could put some of Russia’s main supply lines to eastern Ukraine, located on the far bank of the river, within range of Ukrainian artillery, Reuters noted.
The dramatic turnaround in the region was also highlighted Thursday by the UK Ministry of Defense in its latest intelligence update.
“Despite Russia’s success in encircling Kharkiv in the initial stages of the conflict, it has reportedly withdrawn units from the region to reorganize and replenish its forces following heavy losses,” the UK agency said.
“The withdrawal of Russian forces from the Kharkiv Oblast [region] is a tacit recognition of Russia’s inability to capture key Ukrainian cities where they expected limited resistance from the population.”
Ukraine’s general staff said in an update overnight that the Russians were regrouping “in order to prevent our forces from advancing further” around Kharkiv.
While areas had been “liberated” from the invaders, some Russian units had managed to cross the river, the defense ministry said, noting, “Fighting continues.”
Russia’s retreat has begun to make it possible for some residents to return to recaptured villages around Kharkiv and for volunteers to bring aid to those who stayed behind.
But areas remain unsafe — littered with mines and booby traps, and still within Russian shelling range.
Both sides reported strikes overnight across the border. Ukrainian officials reported shelling across the frontier from the Russian town of Tyotkino; Russia said Ukraine hit Solokhi near Belgorod.
With Post wires