Ukrainian army fighters sit on the roof of an armed vehicle in Kharkiv, September 9, 2022
Ukraine announced on Saturday breakthroughs by its troops on the southern front, as well as the reconquest of a key city in the east, another victory in kyiv's lightning counter-offensive which enabled it to retake whole swathes of territory.
Our soldiers are advancing on the front lines in the south in several areas ranging from two to several tens of kilometers, spokeswoman for the Southern Ukrainian Military Command, Natalia Goumenyuk, told local media.
In the east, Ukraine claims to have regained control of the city of Kupyansk, which lies on army supply routes Russian.
This new victory for kyiv in the Kharkiv region could significantly affect Russia's ability to supply its positions on the eastern front and provide them with effective logistical support.
The day before, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that kyiv forces had retaken 30 localities from Russian troops in this region bordering Russia, in northeastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the foreground
Kupyansk is Ukraine, a regional official wrote on social media, posting a photo of Ukrainian soldiers in the city of 27,000 inhabitants.
Ukrainian special forces have also released images showing their officers in Kupyansk, which has been and always will be Ukrainian.< /p>
Ukrainian forces advance into eastern Ukraine, liberating more towns and villages. Their courage coupled with Western military support is yielding startling results, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Oleg Nikolenko said on social media.
“He is crucial to send weapons to Ukraine. Defeating Russia on the battlefield means winning peace in Ukraine.
— Oleg Nikolenko, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has meanwhile arrived in kyiv for a surprise visit in support of Ukraine.
Russia announced on Friday that it had sent reinforcements to the Kharkov region. Russian state media released footage showing columns of armor, howitzers and support vehicles driving on unpassable roads.
The largest town recaptured by Kievan forces so far is Balaklia, whose pre-war population was estimated at 30,000.
In the village of Grakové near Kharkiv, taken over by Ukrainian forces, AFP journalists saw destruction testifying to the violence of the fighting, electricity pylons downed and cables spread on the ground.
Stray cats and dogs wandered in search of food in the empty dwellings.
It was scary, there were shelling and explosions everywhere, Natoli Vasiliev, 61, said of the battle in which Ukrainian forces recaptured the village of Grakové from the Russians.
The bodies of two civilians, bearing signs of torture and bullet holes in the back of the head, were discovered there, announced Saturday the office of the attorney general who opened an investigation and a forensic examination of the bodies.
According to this source, after the recapture of the town by Ukrainian forces, a resident of Grakové turned himself in to the police, claiming that Russian soldiers had forced him to bury the two men.
The German minister's visit to Kyiv is her second to the capital since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. It comes a week after the visit to Berlin by Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, who again called for arms to be sent to his country.
I am went to Kyiv today to show that they can continue to count on us. That we will continue to support Ukraine as long as necessary, through the delivery of weapons, through humanitarian and financial support, assured Ms. Baerbock, quoted in a press release from her services. /p>
In recent weeks, Germany has delivered to Ukraine howitzers, rocket launchers and anti-aircraft missiles, which are part of the military arsenal provided by the West having, contributed to affecting the capabilities of Russian forces, experts say.
The German minister's visit comes after a trip by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who promised a $2.8 billion in new military aid.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock during her first visit to kyiv in May 2022
During a meeting in Brussels with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Blinken said Russia's sending of reinforcements showed it was paying a price enormous its attempt to seize Ukrainian territory.
Russian forces have for their part caused severe destruction during the bombardments of Kharkiv and the industrial region of Donbass, in the east.
Kharkiv region governor Oleg Sinegoubov said Russian shelling, carried out in retaliation for the successful counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces, had injured 14 civilians.
Pav lo Kirilenko, governor of the Donetsk region in the Donbass, reported two deaths in the Russian strikes.