Ukraine “probably won the battle of Kharkiv”, the country’s second largest city. This is what we read in the latest report on the conflict of the American think tank Institute for the Study of War, cited by the Guardian. Ukrainian forces prevented the Russians from encircling and taking Kharkiv, and then chased them out of the city’s surroundings, repeating what was done in the Kiev region, the institute notes. “With some exceptions” the Russian units “have not tried to hold up in the face of the counter-offensive of the Ukrainian forces in recent days”. Western sources and a video by an official from the breakaway republic of Donetsk indicate that in this area Moscow is focusing on a withdrawal of Russian forces at home rather than holding positions around Kharkiv, the report continues. According to the think tank, Ukrainian forces will likely try to cut the lines of communication between Belgorod (in Russia) and Russian forces in Izyum. Meanwhile, Russian forces “have not made progress” in the attempted offensive starting from this last Ukrainian city they occupied. The biggest Russian effort is currently aiming to encircle the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk in the Luhansk region. No progress in the past 24 hours has been achieved by the Russians in the attack on Popasna, while the failed attempt to cross the Siverskyi Donets River has led to devastating losses. The Russians, the report continues, may not have enough fresh troops to continue the offensive on a large enough scale and complete the encirclement, although they will likely persist on this goal. KHERSON – According to what we read in today’s British military intelligence report, the fact that Moscow has managed to impose a pro-Russian leadership only in the occupied city of Kherson “underlines the failure of the Russian invasion to make progress towards its political goals in Ukraine”. The Russian-controlled administration in Kherson has announced its intention to seek annexation, the report reads, which recalls that Moscow’s original plan was to use bogus referendums to place most of the Ukrainian regions under the control of pro-Russian authorities. . “If Russia conducts an accession referendum in Kherson, it will certainly manipulate the results to show a clear majority in favor of leaving Ukraine. The citizens of Kherson will probably continue to demonstrate against the Russian occupation,” it says.
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