Ukrainian troops Wednesday retook the town of Pytomnyk outside Kharkiv in the northeastern part of the country, the latest in a string of victories that has put Ukrainian troops within miles of the Russian border.
The liberation of Pytomnyk, a town some 15 miles from the Russian border, comes a day after Ukrainian authorities announced the recapture of four other villages outside of Kharkiv.
The combined counterassaults have effectively pushed Russian artillery out of range of Ukraine’s second-largest city, and simultaneously put pressure on Russia’s border and supply lines.
“We are having successes in the Kharkiv direction, where we are steadily pushing back the enemy and liberating population centers,” Brigadier General Oleksiy Hromov, Deputy Chief of the Main Operations Directorate of Ukraine’s General Staff, said Wednesday.
Ukraine has also taken the fight back to Snake Island — the Black Sea base which was taken in the opening act of the war, in which Ukrainian troops famously told the Russian cruiser Moskva to “go f–k [it]self.”
Ukrainian forces have been targeting Russian air defenses on the island, as well as Russian resupply ships in an effort to disrupt Russia’s attempt to control the Ukrainian coast, according to the British Ministry of Defense.
Ukrainian authorities also reported shooting down a cruise missile headed for the historic port of Odessa, which has come under heavy Russian bombardment in recent days.
Russian rockets did fall outside of Zaporizhzhia, the city on the Dnipro river to which many residents of the destroyed city of Mariupol have fled. There were no immediate reports of casualties following the strike.
Russian attacks within Mariupol persisted, as the last Ukrainian holdouts pleaded for an extraction.
The news comes as:
- Top US intelligence officials warn Russia could turn to increasingly “unpredictable and drastic” tactics in its war on Ukraine — with the ever-present threat of nuclear war against the West.
- The bodies of thousands of Russian soldiers have been piled up in a heap “as tall as a man” to hide the true extent of casualties, according to an intercepted telephone call released by Ukraine’s security services.
- Czech President Milos Zeman has approved a request of 103 Czechs to join Ukraine’s armed forces to help them fight Russian aggression. Czech citizens are usually banned from service in foreign armies which is a crime punishable by a prison term of up to five years.
Meanwhile, Ukraine announced plans Wednesday for its first war crimes trial against a captured Russian soldier.
Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova announced charges against 21-year-old Russian Sergeant Vadin Shyshimarin for allegedly gunning down an unarmed 62-year-old civilian who was riding a bicycle in late February, four days after the start of the war.
Shyshimarin could face up to 15 years in prison under Ukrainian law.
The Prosecutor General’s office said it is investigating over 10,700 allegations of Russian war crimes, and has identified more than 600 suspects.
In the east, Ukraine’s nature gas pipeline operator cut off the flow or Russian gas to Western Europe, claiming that Russian-backed separatist troops in the Donbas were siphoning off the supply. The stoppage is the most drastic impact on the flow of Russian energy into Europe since the war began.
With Post Wires