KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s lightning counter-offensive has recaptured 3,800 square kilometres (1,467 square miles) of territory in its northeastern Kharkiv region since Sept. 6, Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said on Tuesday.
Speaking live on Ukrainian television from the recaptured town of Balakliia, Malyar said that the territory recaptured from Russian forces consisted of more than 300 settlements and around 150,000 current residents.
“The operation is ongoing. Its aim is the full liberation of Kharkiv region… We believe that this will happen in the nearest future,” Malyar said.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said overnight that in total Ukraine had “liberated more than 6,000 sq km (2,400 sq miles) of the territory of Ukraine in the south and in the east” since Sept. 1. This includes the figure mentioned by Malyar for the past week.
Ukraine’s counter-offensive in the Kharkiv region has stunned Russia, which invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. News of battlefield defeats provoked unusual rumblings of dissent on Russian state television channels.
Speaking on television after Malyar, interior ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko said police were in the process of exhuming two bodies of civilians who he said had been executed by Russian troops days befroe their withdrawal.
Moscow denies that its forces deliberately target civilians.