Kharikiv, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian troops pushed all the way to the country’s northeastern border in some places on Monday. And they claimed to have captured a record number of Russian soldiers during the lightning advance that forced Moscow to flee.
According to Ukraine news, the Ukrainian military intelligence spokesman, Russian troops were surrendering en masse since “they understand the hopelessness of their situation.” According to a Ukrainian presidential adviser, there was a shortage of space in Ukraine to accommodate the number of POWs.
Over a large swath of reclaimed land, Ukrainian flags fluttered over newly liberated towns. The Ukrainian military has liberated over 20 settlements in the past 24 hours. According to the British Defense Ministry, Kyiv’s forces have captured an area twice as large as greater London in recent days.
They have lifted ukrainian morale in the past few months of little discernible movement on the battlefield, which has provoked rare public criticism of the Russian government’s war strategy.
Oleh Syniehubov, the governor of Kharkiv’s northeastern region, said, “In some areas of the front, our defenders reached the state border with the Russian Federation.”
After a botched attempt to capture the capital early in the invasion, they left the Kremlin without a response to its largest military defeat in Ukraine since the Russian forces pulled back from areas near Kiev.
According to a map published by the Russian Defense Ministry, they have pushed its troops back along a narrow stretch of land on the border with Russia, a tacit acknowledgement of Ukrainian gains on the border.
Reports of chaos abounded as Russian troops pulled out.
In Zaliznychne, a small town near the eastern front line recently liberated by the Russians, Dmytro Hrushchenko told Sky News, “The Russians were here in the morning. Then at noon, they suddenly started shouting wildly and ran away, charging off in tanks and armored vehicles,”
Ukraine’s military captured a video showing soldiers raising the Ukrainian flag over battle-damaged buildings. There is a scene in which a fighter wipes his boots on a Russian flag that lies on the ground. There were also videos showing Ukrainians inspecting the wreckage of Russian military equipment, including tanks.
Announcing the liberation of over 6,000 square kilometres in the east and south of the country in September, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced his forces had liberated over 6,000 square kilometres.
They have reported that Ukrainian teams are removing land mines and other unexploded weapons from the recaptured areas and looking for any remaining Russian soldiers.
The Ukrainian blitz might have signalled a turning point in the war, but this was uncertain. There has been a momentum reversal, but rarely with such a significant and sudden change.
According to Oleksiy Arestovich, the Ukrainian presidential adviser, there will be no mention of the number of Russian prisoners. But the POWs will be exchanged for Ukrainian service members held by Moscow. Andrey Yusov, a spokesperson for the military intelligence service, reported that a significant number of Russian officers were among the captured troops.
The deputy interior minister of Ukraine claims that fleeing Russian forces have burned official documents and concealed bodies in the areas they controlled until last week to hide rights violations.