Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his forces counterattacked and liberated more than 2,000 square kilometers of territory in the eastern part of the country from Russian forces. The BBC reports that if Zelensky’s claims are true, Ukrainian forces have more than doubled in a little more than 24 hours.
On Saturday, the Ukrainian army advanced rapidly in the key cities of Izium and Kupyansk. But British defense officials said fighting was ongoing outside the two cities.
Ukrainian forces continue to fight to take control of some areas near Izhyum, a Kiev official said. He noted that more than 30 towns and villages in the Kharkiv region have been liberated.
Russia’s defense ministry said it had withdrawn its troops from Ezhyum and Kupyansk. They also confirmed the withdrawal of troops from the city of Balaklia to strengthen the forces fighting in Donetsk. Ukrainian forces entered the town of Balaklia on Friday.
Meanwhile, the head of the Russian-backed administration in the Kharkiv region has recommended evacuating the people of his area to Russia to save their lives.
Pictures posted on social media showed long queues of vehicles at the border crossing area. The governor of Russia’s border region of Belgorod said that people waiting in line are being given food and medical care.
However, about one-fifth of Ukraine is still under Russian control.