by Owen Thorne
I am optimistically but guardedly watching the Ukrainian success in the north. After being on the ground during the fall of Iszyum to the Russians over the summer, I see its liberation as a good step.
Ukraine said on Monday it had recaptured more villages in the northeastern part of the country, pushing back Russian forces. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukrainian forces had retaken more than 6,000 square kilometers of territory.
“The movement of our troops continues,” he said.
A senior U.S. military official on Monday said Ukrainian forces are “making progress” in the south and the east, and that Russian forces around Kharkiv have ceded ground to Ukraine.
However, this is hardly a “rout” or the end of the war. Kharkiv is a secondary area. At this point the Russians remain firmly in control of their primary objective in the Donbas and along the southern coast “land bridge.” In fact, they are maintaining the pressure on the southern half of the Donbas salient.
The next few weeks will be critical in assessing the sustainability and true importance of the Ukrainian success.
See More from Owen Thorne in Ukraine.