The Wall Street Journal reports:
Ukrainian forces advanced on the strategic city of Kupyansk on Friday, threatening to isolate thousands of Russian troops further south and prompting Moscow to send reinforcements.
Over the past three days, Ukrainian forces have advanced almost 50 kilometers, or about 31 miles, in the northeastern Kharkiv region, achieving their biggest breakthrough in months of grinding combat.
Images of the Ukrainian flag being raised over local government buildings and residents greeting soldiers with tears of joy have boosted morale across the country after months on the defensive. One video showed Ukrainian soldiers in the city of Balakliya clambering on top of an armored personnel carrier to tear down a banner reading, “We are with Russia! One people!”
“It is very difficult for us, but we are moving forward,” the commander of Ukraine’s armed forces, Lt. Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, said on the Defense Ministry’s Twitter account. An accompanying video showed civilians rejoicing at the return of Ukrainian forces after six months under Russian occupation.
The surprise offensive has put Ukrainian forces near Kupyansk, a city of some 30,000 before the war that is a critical road hub for the resupply and movement of Russian occupation forces. Control over that city would isolate Russian forces to the south in Izyum, which Moscow had sought to use as a staging ground for its own offensive. [Continue reading…]