Ukraine claims to have recaptured land from Russian forces

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his troops have recaptured several settlements in the Kharkiv region

Workers clean debris after an administrative building was damaged in a rocket attack in Kharkiv. EPA
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Ukrainian forces say they have recaptured at least two villages south of Kharkiv as UK intelligence reports a key river crossing has been destroyed, keeping up the pressure on Russia.

On Wednesday night, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his troops had recaptured several settlements in the region.

“This week we have good news from the Kharkiv region,” Mr Zelensky said. He declined to name the settlements, saying “now is not the right time”.

Sources in Ukraine and Russia said Ukrainian troops have retaken Verbivka and Volokhiv Yar, and “operationally surrounded” the town of Balakliya.

The action, if true, would put Ukrainian soldiers almost 20 kilometres behind Russian lines.

Neither side has officially confirmed the offensive, which began near Balakliya on Tuesday.

There were unconfirmed reports of heavy Russian losses.

According to an anonymous source, it was designed to catch Russians off guard while they were focused on Ukraine’s bigger push in Kherson.

“The Russians sort of expected it down there, and part of it is to attack them seemingly independently but in different locations so they never know where,” the source told The Telegraph.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update that Ukrainian brigades continue to conduct offensive operations in Kherson.

“Ukraine has probably destroyed a military pontoon bridge at Darivka, which Russian forces had deployed after the nearby road bridge was severely damaged, “ the MoD said in an intelligence update.

“The Darvika crossing is one of the main routes between the northern and southern sectors of Russia’s military presence along the Dnipro river.”

Ukraine’s targeting of vulnerable crossing points keeps the pressure up on Russian forces as they attempt to contain the attacks.

“It slows their ability to deploy operational reserves and resupply materiel from the east,” it said.

US President Joe Biden plans on Thursday to hold a video call with allies, including the leaders of the Group of Seven nations, the Nato military alliance and the European Union on the next steps to support Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.

The Pentagon has sent Ukraine its most accurate artillery shell, the GPS-guided Excalibur, according to budget documents.

Updated: September 08, 2022, 8:09 AM