A lightning counter-offensive by Ukraine has retaken more than 700 square miles in the past few days, leaving Russian soldiers literally running for their lives — and Vladimir Putin bizarrely attended the opening of a new Ferris wheel during the height of his troops’ retreat.
Ukrainian Army Chief General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said Sunday that his troops had taken back 1,158 square miles of territory since the start of the month — with two-thirds of the whopping gains occurring since Thursday.
“In the Kharkiv direction, we began to advance not only to the south and east, but also to the north,” the general wrote on social media. “There are 50 km to go to the [Russian] border.”
Ukraine regained additional territory in the region Sunday, the New York Times reported — the day after Russia’s stunning reported retreat from the city of Izium, an important logistics hub. Russia’s alleged loss of Izium is considered its worst defeat since being fended off from Kyiv in March.
On Saturday, the same day Russia reportedly retreated from Izium, Russian President Putin attended the grand-opening of Europe’s largest Ferris wheel in Moscow, leaving him mocked online.
“His soldiers are dying on the battlefield and he’s opening a ferris wheel….total insanity, the guy is 3 sheets to the wind!” a supporter of Ukraine tweeted.
Meanwhile, Russian soldiers were abandoning their tanks, weapons and even clothes in the face of the Ukrainian onslaught, Ukraine’s soldiers claimed to the Telegraph.
Caught off-guard by swift Ukrainian advancement, the Russians “literally run from their positions,” the Ukrainian recruits said.
“They left a huge amount of vehicles and ammunition. We couldn’t transfer or evacuate it all to our rear,” a soldier said. “There were a lot of uniforms lying around. We caught some of these guys trying to escape in civilian clothes, they were telling some incredible bulls–t trying to save themselves.”
The Ukrainian soldiers said they overheard one Russian soldier in a tank unit say, “We are totally f–ked.”
“I think it’s the beginning of the end for Russian occupants,” a 25-year-old solider told The Telegraph. “They were literally running from their positions, leaving their stuff and heading to the occupied territories. I think more significant gains are coming.”
But Russia’s defense ministry claimed its forces had hit Ukrainian army positions in the Kharkiv region with precision strikes by airborne troops, missiles and artillery.
In a nod to the reported retaking of Izium, whose name means “grapes” in Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, posted a photo of the country’s troops on its outskirts and tweeted an emoji of grapes.
Ukraine’s army had announced its major counter-offensive at the beginning of the month.
“These last days, the Russian army has shown us its best [side] — its back,” Zelensky said in a statement. “There is no place in Ukraine for the occupiers. There never will be.”
The developments came as the last operating nuclear reactor at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia plant was finally shut down amid frantic concern the facility could leak radiation.
With Post Wires