Ukraine has “won the battle of Kharkov” with evidence suggesting Russia withdrew due to the strength of Ukrainian counter-attacks 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 appears to be “executing an orderly withdrawal and giving priority to getting the Russians back home”.
The update read: “The Russian military has probably decided to withdraw completely from its positions around Kharkov City in the face of Ukrainian counter-offensive and limited availability of reinforcements.”
In another setback to Putin’s invasion, analysts said Russian units had not tried to hold their lines against counter-attacks by Ukrainian forces around the city, which has been heavily bombed since the war started in February.
The US-based think tank said the Russians appeared to be backing down and aiming to replace their own troops with mercenaries.
The latest update read: “So Ukraine seems to have won the battle of Kharkov.
“Ukrainian troops prevented Russian troops from encircling, let alone taking Kharkiv, and then expelled them from all over the city, as they did with Russian troops attempting to take Kiev.”