All about Ukraine's counter-offensive in Kharkiv that pushed back Russia
- Russia's offensive in Ukraine has completed nearly 11 weeks
- Most battles are being fought south of Ukraine, Kyiv said
- Russia is "very worried about our counter-offensive", Ukraine's Interior Ministry said
Kharkiv, a city in eastern Ukraine, has started to become a battlefield dominated by Kyiv's forces as Russia's offensive completes 11 weeks. Russian forces are being pushed by Ukraine's counter-offensive in Kharkiv, officials have said.
According to Washington-based defense think tanks, one reason for the Russian pushback is the close proximity of Kharkiv to its international border. In order to use high-precision equipment, Moscow's forces have been forced to reposition.
Russia also revamped its assault on Ukraine last month, moving away from Kyiv and shifting focus to southern cities like Mariupol. Most of the active battles are currently being fought "in the Luhansk direction", according to Ukraine's Interior Ministry.
Ukraine's Interior Minister's office added that Moscow is "very worried about our counter-offensive in the Kharkiv region."
Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, credited the country's gains in the east to "increasing confidence and expanded goals." The top Ukrainian diplomat suggested that Kyiv could go beyond just forcing Russia back to areas it held before the invasion began 11 weeks ago.
Russian forces have made advances in the Donbas and control more of it than they did before the war began. But it highlights how Ukraine has bested a larger, better-armed Russian military, surprising many who had anticipated a much quicker end to the conflict, Associated Press reported.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also appeared to celebrate Russia taking a step back and attributed it to Kyiv's counter-offensive.
What steps has Russia taken?
Officials from Kyiv said that about 20 battalion tactical groups in Belgorod have already been assembled by Russia, CNN reported.
Russia has also reportedly been blowing up Ukrainian infrastructure, including bridges and roads, to slow down the counter-offensive.