Daily Telegraph: “Ukrainian soldiers have broken through Russia’s frontline along the Oskil River.”
After more than two weeks of sustained counter-offensive, Ukrainian forces continue to retake ground in the east of the country.
Ukrainian military has reportedly breached the Russian front line along the Oskil River in the eastern Kharkiv region.
The sustained Ukrainian advance appears to have weakened Russia’s hold over the occupied Donbas area, which Moscow managed to capture after nearly seven months of bloody fighting. “Ukrainian soldiers have broken through Russia’s frontline along the Oskil River, exposing an important supply route and swathes of territory that the Kremlin has promised to defend,” the UK’s Daily Telegraph reported Friday.
France24 reported the Ukrainian advance:
Ukrainian forces continue to cross the key Oskil River in the Kharkiv region as they try to press on in a counteroffensive targeting Russian-occupied territory, according to the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.
The Institute said in its Saturday report that satellite imagery it examined suggest that Ukrainian forces have crossed over to the east bank of the Oskil in Kupiansk, placing artillery there. The river, which flows south from Russia into Ukraine, had been a natural break in the newly emerged front lines since Ukraine launched its push about a week ago.
Russians Set Up New Defensive Line
While the Ukrainians—replenished with recently-supplied Western arms—still have the initiative on the battlefield, the Russian forces are reportedly digging in to dampen their momentum.
The Russians are setting up a massive defensive line to retain their remaining hold on Kharkiv, the British media reports suggest.
“The Russians are making a stand at Svatove, as well as trying to regain their positions at Kremenna, because if they cannot, then Lysychansk and Severodonetsk could be surrounded from the north,” the Sky News UK reported.
The fortified Russian “line is likely between the Oskil River and Svatove, some 150 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv,” the German state broadcaster DW News reported citing British intelligence.
Russia Steps Up Artillery, Rocket Attacks
Russian forces have also stepped up the frequency of their missile and artillery attacks across the front.
British intelligence confirmed the growing intensity of the Russian attacks but added that they were largely aimed at Ukraine’s civilians population. The agency disclosed that “in the last seven days Russia has increased it targeting of civilian infrastructure,” Sky News UK reported Sunday.
The Reuters news agency reported the Russian claims:
Russia’s defence ministry said on Saturday that its forces had launched strikes on Ukrainian positions in several parts of Ukraine, and accused Kyiv of carrying out shelling near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Russian forces conducted their strikes in the Kherson, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, according to the ministry, which added that Ukrainian forces had carried out an unsuccessful offensive near Pravdyne in Kherson.
EU Wants War Crimes Probe Over Mass Graves
The Europeans are calling for a war crimes tribunal after hundreds of bodies were uncovered in mass graves outside the city of Izyum, which was recently retaken by Ukraine.
Earlier this week, more than 400 bodies were found buried in shallow graves. According to official Ukrainian sources, many corpses show signs of torture and had their hands tied behind their backs, suggesting they were executed.
Reporting from the scene, the German broadcaster DW News wrote on Sunday:
This is a site of sheer horror, of a mass burial of over 400 people who died violent deaths under Russian occupation in eastern Ukraine. Dozens of bodies have already been uncovered and moved to a makeshift morgue for further examination. But preliminary conclusions are grim: Most of the corpses show signs of torture.
The BBC reported the European demand for a probe:
The European Union presidency has called for an international tribunal over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The call, from the Czech Republic which currently holds the rotating presidency of the bloc, came after the discovery of hundreds of graves in Izyum, a town recently liberated by Ukrainian troops.
Many are said to be civilians, women and children among them.
“We stand for the punishment of all war criminals,” Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said.
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