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Ukraine says it provoked rapid withdrawal of Russian troops on two fronts

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Ukraine says it provoked rapid withdrawal of Russian troops on two fronts

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday that his country’s military had made big and rapid advances against Russian forces and liberated dozens of cities in the south and east of the country in the last week.

“This week alone, since the Russian pseudo-referendum, dozens of population centers have been liberated. These are in the Kherson, Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk regions,” Zelensky said.

Last month, referendums on membership of Russia were held in four regions, and Moscow used the overwhelming vote in favor as a basis for annexing the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. The vote was widely condemned by the West as fraudulent.

Zelensky cited eight small towns in Kherson, in the south, that had recently been recaptured. Reuters could not independently verify his statements.

A video released by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense appeared to show the Ukrainian flag being flown over one such community, Davydiv Brid, in Kherson.

Ukrainian forces retook several villages in an advance along the strategic Dnipro River on Monday, Ukrainian officials and a Russian-backed leader in the area said.

In the east, Ukrainian forces are expanding an offensive after capturing Russia’s main bastion north of Donetsk, the city of Lyman, hours after Putin proclaimed the province’s annexation last week.

Russian forces in the Donetsk and Kherson regions have been forced to retreat in recent days and appear to be struggling to stop a Ukrainian army increasingly equipped with weaponry from the West.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was expected to sign a law on Tuesday night formally annexing the four Ukrainian regions. They represent about 18% of Ukraine’s territory, and Kiev and its Western allies say the annexation is illegal and will not be recognized.

Russia does not fully control any of the four regions it claims — Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine and Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in the south — and the Kremlin has said it has yet to determine the final borders of the annexed territory.

Source: CNN Brasil

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