Ukraine’s Reznikov warns of Russian counterattack

The country’s defense minister warned Ukraine to protect the vast territory it had recaptured from a possible Russian counterattack.

The attack shattered the Kremlin’s forces, led to the recapture of about 3,000 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory, and prompted the Russian Defense Ministry’s unusual admission that the country’s troops had to withdraw.

“A counterattack liberates territory and then you have to control it and be ready to defend it,” Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told the Financial Times, warning: “Of course, we have to worry. , this war has us worried. for several years. “

On Sunday night, Russia attacked Ulkraine with artillery and missile attacks from the Black Sea.

In Kharkiv, the night sky brightened after a strike on the country’s second-largest thermal power plant, causing a total blackout. The Donetsk region lost power completely, while Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Sumy experienced some.

Russian forces are “terrorists and remain terrorists and attack critical infrastructure. There are no military facilities, the goal is to deprive people of light and heat,” President Volodmyr Zelensky tweeted.

Russia’s most powerful pro-war commentators praise civilian areas left without electricity: “Hey neighbors, what’s so bright?” mocked Russia Today editor Margarita Simonyan. However, late on Sunday, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a senior Ukrainian official, said power had been returned to some regions.

Zelensky later wrote on Telegram: “Do you still think we [Russians and Ukrainians] is a person’? Do you even think you can scare us, break us? . . . We will have gas, light, water and food.. and NO you! “

Ukraine’s Blitzkrieg – which Reznikov describes as a “snowball rolling down the hill” – is the biggest defeat to date for Russia since full-scale invasion which President Vladimir Putin ordered on February 24.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the powerful leader of Chechnya, supported Moscow by sending troops, criticized the Russian army for withdrawing and said if their strategy did not change, he would speak to “the country’s leadership “.

“Mistakes have been made. I think they will come to a conclusion. It might not be nice when you tell someone the truth in front of them, but I love telling the truth,” he said.

Ukraine’s latest offensive marks a success along the northernmost of the three active front lines in the conflict, and Kiev’s forces continued to make a home advantage on Sunday. General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander of the armed forces, said they were only 50 kilometers from the Russian border. The photos he posted on Telegram show military positions from which the Russian military hastened to the point where meals are laid out on wooden tables.

Zaluzhnyi wrote: “Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to liberate territories occupied by Russia. “Since the beginning of September, more than 3,000 square kilometers have been repaid.”

Oleksii Reznikov
Oleksii Reznikov: ‘A counterattack liberates territory and then you have to control it and be ready to defend it’ © Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Serhiy Hayday, head of the region’s military administration, said Russian sympathizers also fled the occupied territories in the Luhansk region, southeast of Kharkiv.

“The mass de-occupation is happening on the horizon,” Hayday told Ukrainian TV on Sunday. “Perhaps this [victory] It will not happen in a day or two, it will happen soon. . . We can tell their morale is down.”

Reznikov said the Ukrainian army was tired after six days attack but morale is high because “it’s a sign that Russia can be defeated”.

He warned that Russian reinforcements could launch a counterattack against his country’s sprawling supply lines. Ukrainian forces could also be surrounded by new Russian troops if they advance too far.

Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister, said the Ukraine offensive was a moment of hope. “This is what we needed,” she said during a visit to Kyiv.

The Russian Defense Ministry on Saturday acknowledged that its forces had withdrawn from the strategic city of Izyum, stating that it had decided to “regroup” and move them southeast to the Donetsk region.

Ukrainian troops have besieged Kupyansk, north of Izyum, a road and rail hub that supplies Russian defenses across northeastern Ukraine. This caused thousands of Russian troops to have their supplies cut off on a fiercely contested battlefield.

Analysts at the US-based Institute for the Study of War said the liberation of Izyum “will be the most significant achievement of the Ukrainian army since winning the battle in Kyiv in March”. They expected Ukrainian forces to “capture the city of Izyum in the next 48 hours if they have not already done so”.

Military officials and analysts warn that the success of the offensive does not mean the Ukrainian military is about to send Russian forces back to the border.

Reznikov said the near-simultaneous counterattack around Kherson was progressing more slowly because it was an agricultural region “with irrigation channels” that the Russians could use as defensive trenches.

Casualties there are believed to be heavy, and the Ukrainian General Staff said 1,200 Chechen troops had been deployed to reinforce Russian positions.

Reznikov says that the Chechens are being used to prevent frontline troops from abandoning their positions.

Dara Massicot, a Russian military expert at Rand Corporation, an American think tank, said: “Information from the Defense Department about the withdrawal will spread quickly. “Moscow should not underestimate how quickly bad news, panic and rumors can come along the front – especially in light of the exhausted forces coming from months of fighting, lack of reserves and rest.”

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