Some Russian troops retreating from Kharkiv have exited Ukraine: US official

By Phil Stewart

A Ukrainian soldier inspects a Russian tank destroyed in a battle in a freed territory on the road to Balakleya in the Kharkiv region.Credit:AP

Washington: The United States believes Russia has largely ceded its gains near Kharkiv and many retreating Russian soldiers have exited Ukraine, moving over the border back into Russia, a senior US military official said.

“Overall we assess the Ukrainians are making progress as they fight to liberate and reclaim territory in the south and east,” the US military official told reporters on Monday, US-time, speaking on condition of anonymity, without offering a number.

“On the ground in the vicinity of Kharkiv we assess that Russian forces have largely ceded their gains to the Ukrainians and have withdrawn to the north and east. Many of these forces have moved over the border into Russia.”

Ukrainian troops retook a wide swath of territory from Russia on Monday, pushing all the way back to the northeastern border in some places, and claimed to have captured many Russian soldiers as part of a lightning advance that forced Moscow to make a hasty retreat.

A spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence said Russian troops were surrendering en masse as “they understand the hopelessness of their situation.” A Ukrainian presidential adviser said there were so many POWs that the country was running out of space to accommodate them.

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