UK Military Intel: “Russian forces were likely taken by surprise.”
As the Ukrainian counter-offensive enters its second week, the Russian military has been forced to pull back troops from the territory held in eastern Ukraine.
Acknowledging the success of Ukrainian advances in the east, the Russian Defense Ministry admitted withdrawing soldiers from the occupied Kharkiv region.
“Russia has ordered its troops to withdraw from two front line positions in eastern Ukraine in the face of a shock advance by Ukrainian forces,” Sky News reported Sunday. “The retreat on Saturday marked the most significant gain for Ukraine’s military since they defeated a Russian attempt to conquer the capital, Kyiv, back in March,” the broadcaster added.
Amid confirmed reports of Russia’s retreat, Kyiv claimed retaking a large swath of territory. “In his nightly video address on Saturday, President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that Ukraine had now liberated 2,000 sq km (700 sq miles) from Russia since beginning a renewed counter-offensive earlier this month,” the BBC reported.
While the report was welcomed by the mainstream media as a major Ukrainian victory on the battlefield after more than 6 months of fighting, Russia claimed that it was merely “regrouping” its forces to strengthen its hold on the Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, country’s industrial heartland.
The Associated Press reported the Russian retreat:
Russia’s Defense Ministry announced Saturday that it was pulling back troops from two areas in Ukraine’s eastern Kharkiv region where a Ukrainian counteroffensive has made significant advances in the past week.
The news came after days of apparent advances by Ukraine south of Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, in what could become the biggest battlefield success for Ukrainian forces since they thwarted a Russian attempt to seize the capital, Kyiv, at the start of the nearly seven-month war. (…)
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said troops would be regrouped from the Balakliya and Izyum areas to the eastern Donetsk region. Izyum was a major base for Russian forces in the Kharkiv region, and earlier this week social media videos showed residents of Balakliya joyfully cheering as Ukrainian troops moved in.
Konashenkov said the Russian move was being made “in order to achieve the stated goals of the special military operation to liberate Donbas,’” an eastern area home to two separatist regions that Russia has declared sovereign.
The British military intelligence claimed that the Ukrainian counter-offensive in Kharkiv region took the Russian forces by surprise.
It is worth noting that the main thrust of Kyiv’s counter-offensive was concentrated at liberating the south-eastern Kherson region, which acts as a secure land bridge to the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula, home to Russia’s Black Sea naval base. Liberating the Kharkiv region in the east was not the stated objective of the Ukrainian pushback.
“Russian forces were likely taken by surprise. The sector was only lightly held and Ukrainian units have captured or surrounded several towns,” the UK Defense Ministry said its its daily intelligence updates on Sunday. “Its capture would be a significant blow to Russia because it sits on supply routes to the Donbas front line,” the intel analysis added.
(2/4) Russian forces were likely taken by surprise. The sector was only lightly held and Ukrainian units have captured or surrounded several towns.
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) September 10, 2022
Terror Group Hamas’ Delegation to Visit Moscow
Amid raging war in Ukraine, a senior delegation of Gaza-based Islamic terrorist group Hamas is set to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, the Israeli media reported Saturday. The delegation will be led by Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas chief who is on U.S. list of wanted “global terrorists.”
The meeting between the top leadership of Iran-backed jihadist group, Hamas, and Russian leadership comes as Kremlin is strengthening its military ties with Tehran. In late July, President Putin visited Iran amid reports that Moscow was trying to buy Iranian attack drones as Western sanctions hurt Moscow’s ability to acquire of cutting edge technology from elsewhere.
In the past decade, Russia and Iran have deepened their military cooperation. In Syria, Russian military are operating alongside Syria’s Iran-backed Assad regime and pro-Iranian Hezbollah terror militia.
The Jerusalem Post reported the upcoming meeting:
The chief political leader of Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas Ismail Haniyeh landed in Moscow on Saturday ahead of a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the Gaza-based terror group said.
Haniyeh leads a senior Hamas delegation that includes military chief Saleh al-Arouri and other members of Hamas’ politburo.
Discussions in Russia will revolve around “mutual ties” and “other issues relating to the situation in Palestine,” Hamas noted.
The Islamic terrorist group’s leadership visit to Moscow also takes place “amid heightened tensions between Russia and Israel due to Israel’s support of Ukraine during the ongoing Russian invasion and other security conflicts, namely airstrikes over Syria which Russia has attributed to Israel,” the newspaper added.DONATE
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