The Russian President has been rocked by Kyiv’s stunning counterattack along the Kharkiv front line in Ukraine’s northeast. Ukraine’s army has regained more than 772 square miles (2,000 square kilometres) from the Russian occupiers within a matter of a few days, sending shock waves through the Kremlin. The strategically important cities of Kupiansk and Izyum are now believed to be under the control of Kyiv once again.
Photos published by the Ukrainian security forces showed troops raising the national flag in Kupiansk.
The Russian Ministry of Defence also confirmed the withdrawal of its troops from Izyum, the major base for Moscow’s forces in Kharkiv.
Officials claimed the Russian troops were being “regrouped” so that efforts could be stepped up in Donetsk.
However, Dr Mike Martin, a military expert, said the Russians were “routed” at Izyum and predicted a collapse of Putin’s army in the near future.
He said: “The Russians fled Izyum in what can only be described as a rout.
“The Ukrainians have just fought a brilliant piece of combined arms manoeuvre.
kraine’s army has regained more than 772 square miles (Image: Getty)
Kharkiv counter (Image: Getty)
“The Russian armed forces have been demonstrated, again, to be utterly terrible.”
Dr Martin noted that the fall of Kupiansk and Izyum would seriously impact the Russian army’s ability to continue its Donbas offensive.
The two cities were critical logistical centres for Putin’s army in the east.
The King’s College London professor wrote: “This is very significant – the Russians will not be able to conduct offensive operations in the Donbas anymore until (if ever?) they reconfigure their logistics.”
The Kharkiv counterattack has detracted attention from events in the south of Ukraine, where Kyiv’s army is also on the offensive.
READ MORE: Vladimir Putin’s forces flee as Russian frontline collapses in Ukraine
Kharkiv counter (Image: Getty)
Putin’s problems in Ukraine are mounting (Image: Getty)
Ukrainian forces are currently fighting the Russians in the Kherson region, as they seek to retake the port city of the same name.
Capturing Kherson would provide a platform to launch an attack on Crimea to liberate the peninsula that was seized by Moscow in 2014.
Dr Martin said: “But as ever – this is all about Kherson.
“Watch over there too today – because Crimea is the Russian strategic centre of gravity and the Kherson pocket will need to collapse to make that happen.
“But after what we’ve seen over the last 72 hours the collapse of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine doesn’t seem a long way away.”
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Kherson counterattack (Image: Telegram)
A former top Ukrainian government official claimed the Kherson counterattack was just a feint for the Kharkiv operation.
Taras Berezovets, a former national security adviser, told The Guardian that the much-publicised Ukrainian southern offensive was a disinformation campaign to distract Russia from the real one being prepared in the Kharkiv region
He said: “It was a big special disinformation operation.
“Russia thought it would be in the south and over their equipment.
“Then, instead of the south, the offensive happened where they least expected and this caused them to panic and flee.”