Kremlin soldiers will not hold defense line: “Everything will soon be Ukraine”

Ukrainian soldiers have breached the Russian front line along the Oskil River, exposing a key Russian supply route and tracts of land the Kremlin has promised to defend.

The hunt has focused on Kupyansk since Russian forces fled a surprise Ukrainian offensive around Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine last week, but now military bloggers from both sides say Russia’s defenses have collapsed again.

“Kupyansk surrendered. The enemy is on the left bank of the Oskil,” pro-Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky told his 450,000 subscribers last night.

Western commentators confirmed the development. James Rushton, a Ukraine-based British military analyst, said he didn’t think Russian forces could hold their defense line along the Oskil River much longer.

“The Ukrainians have already exceeded it,” he said. “Considering that they now control all of Kupyansk and half the city is on the east bank, any line of defense the Russians are trying to form along the river is already very vulnerable.”

Russian forces fled across the Oskil River, which flows north-south from central Russia into Ukraine, after a surprise Ukrainian offensive retook some 6,500 square kilometers of territory, an area nearly the size of Co Cork.

Kupiansk and Izyum are the largest and most valuable cities recaptured from the Ukrainian military. Both were hotly contested in the first weeks of the war and were used by the Russian army as logistical bases for supplying their forces in the Donbas.

Britain’s Defense Ministry said a Ukrainian breakthrough of the Russian front line along the Oskil River would humiliate the Kremlin, which has made the capture and subsequent defense of Luhansk a priority. It would jeopardize its last logistics hub to the Donbass, originating from the Russian city of Belgorod.

“This line runs along the border of the Luhansk Oblast, part of the Donbass that Russia is seeking to ‘liberate’ as one of its immediate war targets,” it said.

“Any significant loss of territory in Luhansk will clearly undermine Russia’s strategy.

“Russia will likely try to defend this area tenaciously – but it is unclear whether Russia’s front-line troops have sufficient reserves or morale to withstand another concerted Ukrainian attack.”

The Oskil River meanders south through fertile farmland in Ukraine before joining the Seversky Donets River, which empties into the Donbass. It is 120 km east of Kharkiv and 170 km northwest of the city of Luhansk, which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels since a 2014 uprising against the central government in Kyiv.

The US-based Institute for the Study of War also confirmed that Ukrainian troops had breached Russia’s north-eastern front line.

“Russian forces are probably too weak to prevent further Ukrainian advances along the entire Oskil River,” it said.

A video reportedly taken by a Ukrainian tank and uploaded to Twitter was pinpointed to Kupiansk on the east bank of the Oskil.

It showed the shattered and destroyed city. To the left of the video footage lie the wreckage of two smoldering and seemingly abandoned Russian tanks – one painted with the letter Z, which has become a pro-war Russian symbol.

Another video of a Ukrainian soldier celebrating the destruction of a Russian armored personnel carrier was also located on the east bank of the Oskil River.

“Everything will soon be Ukraine,” says the soldier in the video. Russian forces have suffered enormous casualties since the Kremlin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

The US Pentagon estimates that the Russian army has suffered at least 75,000 dead or injured – far more than the Soviet Union’s losses in a decade of fighting in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022] Kremlin soldiers will not hold defense line: “Everything will soon be Ukraine”

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