Ukraine has “won the battle of Kharkiv” with evidence suggesting Russia has withdrawn due to the strength of Ukrainian counterattacks and a lack of reinforcements.
In its latest assessment of the situation on the ground, the Institute for the Study of War (IOW) said Russia looks to be “conducting an orderly withdrawal and prioritizing getting Russians back home”.
The update read: “The Russian military has likely decided to withdraw fully from its positions around Kharkiv City in the face of Ukrainian counteroffensives and the limited availability of reinforcements.”
In another setback to Putin’s invasion, analysts said that Russian units had not attempted to hold their lines against counterattacks by Ukrainian troops around the city, which has been under heavy bombardment since the war began in February.
The US-based think tank said Russians appeared to be dropping back and aimed to replace their own troops with mercenaries.
Its latest update said: “Ukraine thus appears to have won the battle of Kharkiv.
“Ukrainian forces prevented Russian troops from encircling, let alone seizing Kharkiv, and then expelled them from around the city, as they did to Russian forces attempting to seize Kyiv.”