Ukraine’s top military commander claimed that more than 3,000 square kilometers of territory has been retaken by the country’s military since the beginning of the month.
“Since the beginning of September, more than 3,000 square kilometers have been returned to the control of Ukraine,” Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said on Sunday.
Ukrainian forces have begun to advance not only to the south and east in the Kharkiv region but also to the north, Zaluzhnyi said, adding “there are 50 kilometers to go to the state border.”
CNN cannot independently verify Zaluzhnyi’s claim.
Some background: After months of what was described by some analysts as a war of attrition, a fast-moving Ukrainian offensive beginning in the eastern Kharkiv region in recent days has forced Russian troops to retreat.
Ukrainian forces entered the strategic city of Izium, which sits near the border between the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, on Saturday. Izium, which had been under Russian occupation for more than five months, was being used as a launching pad and rail hub for attacks southward into the Donetsk region and Kupyansk.
Saturday’s rapid advance did not end with Izium, as Ukraine appeared to have opened a new front against Russian defenses on the border of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The head of the regional military administration for Luhansk, Serhiy Hayday, indicated the city of Lysychansk was the target of the new offensive.
Lysychansk was the last city in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine to fall under Russian control in July, after weeks of intense fighting. Hayday told CNN on Saturday “the occupiers, including both the collaborators and the military, are running away in a hurry.”