Ukraine Army Penetrates Russian Defenses by Over 30 Miles in Offensive—Kyiv

Ukrainian troops have advanced 50 kilometers (31 miles) into previously Russian-occupied territory near Kharkiv, according to a briefing from Brigadier General Oleksiy Gromov, a representative of Ukraine's general staff.

Gromov claimed Ukrainian forces have recaptured "700 square km (435 square miles)" since their attack on the Kharkiv front, in northern Ukraine, began earlier this week. He added that "more than 20 settlements have been liberated" as a result of the operation.

If confirmed, it would be a major victory for the Ukrainian military, which is currently making advances against occupying Russian troops on a number of fronts.

Russian positions have been under attack in southern Ukraine around Kherson, the north near Kharkiv and the eastern Donbas region. The Kremlin's forces made an unsuccessful bid to seize Kharkiv, Ukraine's second biggest city, in the opening weeks of the war.

Ukrainian troops advance from Kharkiv in north
Above, Ukrainian soldiers ride a tank on a road in the Donetsk region on August 13, 2022, amid the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. Kyiv has gone on the offensive over the past week, with Ukrainian troops advancing on the northern Kharkiv and southern Kherson fronts. ANATOLII STEPANOV / AFP)/GETTY

In a media briefing, published on YouTube by the Military Television of Ukraine, Gromov said: "Currently, the military has wedged itself into the enemy's defense to a depth of 50 kilometers. Filtration operations are ongoing in a number of settlements. In the course of active operations in the Kharkiv direction, more than 20 settlements have been liberated.

"The total area of ​​the territory returned to the control of Ukraine in the Kharkiv and Yuzhno-Buz directions is more than 700 square kilometers."

Gromov declined to list the settlements recaptured when asked, instead reiterating that Ukraine has had "successes in a number of directions."

On Wednesday, a joint piece by Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, head of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and parliamentarian Mykhailo Zabrodskyi was published, arguing Ukraine could retake the Crimean peninsula in 2023.

Russia seized and annexed Crimea in 2014 after the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine removed the Russia-sympathetic government of Viktor Yanukovych.

Zaluzhnyi and Zabrodskyi said: "If we consider the 2023 campaign as a turning point, then for consideration we need to return to the definition of the center of gravity for the Russian Federation in this war. After all, only an effective influence on the enemy's center of gravity can lead to changes in the course of the war.

"Provided that such a center of gravity is defined as control over the Crimean peninsula, it is logical to assume planning for 2023 an operation or a series of operations to seize the peninsula."

Later on Wednesday evening President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Ukrainian offensive during his nightly addresses to the nation, saying that "this week we have good news from the Kharkiv region" adding "every citizen feels proud of our warriors."

Ukrainian military intelligence published what it claimed was a call between a Russian soldier and his wife on Tuesday, admitting to heavy losses since Ukraine's counterattack began towards Kherson.

The soldier reportedly said: "We already have 300's [wounded] here. They f**ked us up. Next to us were boys from Belogorsk, from the 165th Brigade. Shrapnel hit the hit time, f**k...they laid under the tank, it hit the tank. Boys didn't have trenches or anything."

Newsweek reached out to the Russian and Ukrainian defense ministries for comment.