Russian forces retreat as Ukraine tries to expand counteroffensive

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  • Ukraine is now under attack in both the south and east
  • It faces Russian resistance on both fronts
  • Eastern counterattack slowed
  • Biden says the war looks long-term despite Kyiv’s success
  • White House says new US military aid to Ukraine likely

IZUM, Ukraine, Sept. 14 (Reuters) – Ukraine has said it is trying to extend its stunned counterattack in the east, but pro-Russian officials said they are still standing for now, and US President Joe Biden said the war still looked like a war. Long distance despite the recent success of Kyiv.

Russian forces suffered a stunning reversal this month after Ukrainian forces made a rapid armored incursion with special forces into the northeastern Kharkiv region, at times forcing Russia into a swift and chaotic withdrawal.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a late-night speech on Tuesday that his army had liberated about 8,000 square kilometers (3,100 square miles) of land so far this month, an area roughly equivalent to the island of Cyprus.

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Reuters was not immediately able to verify the full scope of the battlefield successes claimed by Ukraine.

Reiterating his desire to liberate all of his country by force, Zelensky said that what he called “stabilization measures” – complete securing and eradication of any pro-Russian elements – had been completed in about half of those territories.

Oleksiy Aristovich, Zelensky’s adviser, said Ukrainian forces are now attacking the Russian-controlled town of Lyman in the Donetsk region, looking to make territorial gains in the neighboring Russian-controlled Luhansk region.

“There is now an attack on Lyman,” Aristovich said in a video posted on YouTube, predicting a fight for the town of Svatovo, where he said the Russians had storage bunkers.

“And this is what they fear most – to take Lyman and then advance to Lyschansk and Severodonetsk,” he said, referring to two twin cities in the Luhansk region captured by Russia after heavy fighting in June and July.

Denis Pushilin, president of the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic, said that the pro-Moscow forces had succeeded in repelling the Ukrainian forces that tried to break through to Lyman and that the situation had stabilized for the time being.

“Nothing worked for the enemy,” Pushlin said, adding that Ukrainian attacks on northern and southern Lyman had also been repelled.

Asked if Ukraine’s erroneous counterattack in the east marked a turning point in the six-month war, US President Joe Biden said it was hard to predict.

“Obviously the Ukrainians have made a lot of progress,” Biden said. “But I think that’s going to be a long time.”

Russian forces still control about a fifth of Ukraine in the south and east, although Kyiv is now on the offensive in both regions.

The White House, which has provided billions of dollars in arms and support to Ukraine, said the United States was likely to announce a new military aid package in “the coming days.”

Ukraine’s fastest advance since Russian forces were expelled from the capital in March has turned the tide of the six-month-old war

Pope criticizes war

Pope Francis said on Wednesday that God had not directed religions toward war, in an implicit criticism of Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, who supports the invasion of Ukraine and boycotted a conference of religious leaders.

Speaking on the second day of a trip to Kazakhstan, Francis said, “God is peace. He always guides us on the path of peace, not the path of war.” Read more

In a move suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin had much broader war aims when he ordered tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on February 24, three people close to the Russian leadership told Reuters that Putin rejected an interim agreement with Kyiv as war. seem.

They said the deal would have satisfied Russia’s demand that Ukraine remain outside NATO and was brokered by Putin’s top envoy on Ukraine. The Kremlin said the Reuters report had “absolutely nothing to do with reality.” Read more

On top of their setbacks in Ukraine, Russian authorities also face challenges in other former Soviet republics.

About 100 people were killed this week in the deadliest fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia since the 2020 war, prompting Putin to call for calm. Read more

Russian news agencies, quoting the Kyrgyz border service, said that shooting broke out on Wednesday between guards patrolling the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Read more

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Reporting by Reuters offices. Writing by Andrew Osborne; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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