Maps of the Russian Defense Ministry show a rapid retreat in the Kherson key area amid the Ukrainian army’s counterattack.
Russian forces occupying Kherson region in the southern Black Sea of Ukraine have suffered severe territorial losses to Kyiv’s army in recent days, according to a map released by the Moscow Defense Ministry shows.
The ministry’s daily video meeting did not mention any retreat on Tuesday, but the included maps show Russian forces no longer in control of the village of Dudchany on the west bank of the Dnieper River, where Ukrainian forces are located. is pushing to regain territory captured at the start of Moscow’s offensive.
In the northeastern Kharkiv region, Defense Ministry maps show Russian forces leaving positions on the western bank of the Oskil River. They appear to have retreated about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) to the east, as far as the border of Luhansk province, following a counter-offensive this month by Kyiv troops.
The Ukrainian military announced in a statement on Tuesday that Russian forces in Kherson had “dismayed” and were backing away from their positions, destroying ammunition depots and bridges after they drove off.
“All of this is intended to slow down our military’s offensive,” the Defense Ministry said in its statement.
Ukraine’s Deputy Interior Minister Yevhen Enin on Tuesday said Ukrainian forces had recaptured 50 towns and villages in Kherson, but did not specify when.
Ukraine ‘gaining momentum’
Kyiv’s forces have slowly scratch the territory in Kherson for a few weeks but advances have increased rapidly in recent days.
With a population of one million before the war, Kherson was a key agricultural region and a gateway to the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.
The region’s main city, also known as Kherson, was one of the first to fall to Russian forces after they conducted what the Kremlin called a “special military operation” in February.
Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from the city of Kryvyi Rih, central Ukraine, said Ukraine caught Russian forces “by surprise” by advancing rapidly through the area east of Kharkiv after announcing its intention to advance. launched a major counterattack at Kherson.
“It is believed that it happened so quickly simply because the Russians redeployed their forces from the northeast to the Kherson area, to fortify their defenses there,” she said.
“But then, in the last few days, the Ukrainian army regained momentum and managed to penetrate some of the Russian defenses north of the Kherson region.”
While the Ukrainian military has not released many details, there is evidence on social media of Ukrainian soldiers going to different towns and villages and flying the Ukrainian flag, according to Abdel-Hamid.
Kremlin last week officially annexed region along with three others although the Russian military does not fully control it.
If Ukraine manages to take Kherson, it will be a “huge loss for the Russians because that area is necessary to defend the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014,” said Abdel-Hamid.
“It also cost Russia a land access to that peninsula,” she added.
Tuesday’s loss of territory is not the first time Moscow has admitted to such a frivolous withdrawal.
On 11 September, a map presented by the Ministry of Defense showed that Russian forces had abandoned most of the areas of Kharkiv they had controlled, as far east as Oskil, after the Russian blitzkrieg. Ukraine.