Russia Pounds Kharkiv in Push to Retake Lost Ground
The Russian Defense Ministry’s latest claims, if confirmed, suggest that Russian forces have regained lost ground in parts of the northern Kharkiv region.
The Russian military claimed to have captured the Udy settlement in Ukraine’s northern Kharkiv region.
"As a result of offensive operations by the Russian armed forces, the settlement of Udy in the Kharkov Region has been completely liberated," Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday. The small village of Udy is located just across the border from Russia’s southwestern city of Belgorod. Russian media sources reported that soldiers belonging to the 200th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade entered Udy on Saturday.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said on Monday that Russia struck a facility in the Kharkiv region, killing 100 and wounding 50 German and Polish foreign fighters, according to ABC News. The Russian military announced earlier that it shot down several Ukrainian drones near Glubokoye in the Kharkiv region and captured the settlement of Peski in the eastern Donbass region. Kremlin officials said Russia was making steady progress in the Donetsk area of Donbass, with Russian-aligned separatist forces reporting that skirmishes were already being fought in the strategically key cities of Soledar and Bakhmut. Moscow’s claimed advances in the Kharkiv and Donbass regions have not been independently corroborated.
Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city and positioned in the country’s far east, has been subject to relentless Russian shelling and airstrikes in recent months. Russian outlets reported that Kharkiv city was rocked by at least ten explosions over the weekend. Kharkiv authorities said on Monday that a residential district in the city was hit by what appeared to be Grad multiple rocket launchers. “On the Morning of August 15, the enemy fired another round of rocket-propelled grenade fire at a residential area in the Saltiv district in the city of Kharkiv, including playgrounds, residential buildings, the territory of a church, a store, a garage cooperative, as well as public transport stops,” a local Ukrainian government agency wrote on Telegram. The Russian military has denied targeting civilians in Ukraine, instead accusing Ukraine’s armed forces of deliberately taking up positions in heavily populated residential areas.
The capture of Kharkiv is believed to be one of Moscow’s top war aims as the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its seventh month. Ukrainian troops launched a counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region earlier this summer, allegedly pushing Russian forces as far back as the Russian-Ukrainian border. The Russian Defense Ministry’s latest claims, if confirmed, suggest that Russian forces have regained lost ground in parts of the northern Kharkiv region.
Mark Episkopos is a national security reporter for the National Interest.