Nfter Kyiv regained control of areas in the north-east of the country a few days ago, the Ukrainian president is in office Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to the previously Russian-occupied city of Izyum. "Our blue and yellow flag flies over the liberated Izyum," Zelenskyy said on Telegram on Wednesday after the Ukrainian flag was hoisted at City Hall. "We are moving in only one direction - forward and to victory," declared the President. Several photos showed Zelenskyj surrounded by soldiers from the Ukrainian army.
According to the American Institute for the Study of War, the liberation of Izyum thwarted Russian plans to encircle the Ukrainian defenders in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk. The Russian attackers had fled large parts of the Kharkiv region in the past few days. Just east of the Oskil River, the invaders control a 10-20 kilometer wide strip of land adjoining the area previously controlled by the Russians Luhansk borders. In his video speech on Tuesday evening, Selenskyj spoke of an area of around 8,000 square kilometers that the Ukrainian armed forces had liberated so far in September.
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Currently, only a fraction of the pre-Russian invasion population lives in the recovered settlements. Of the original almost 50,000 inhabitants, only about 10,000 have remained in the Isjum transport hub. During his visit, Zelenskyy said that "stabilization measures" had been completed in about half of the liberated areas, which the President did not elaborate on. At the same time, Selenskyj spoke of Russian atrocities in the previously occupied territories. "The sight is shocking," said the President. The invaders left "the same traces" as in Bucha. An adviser to Ukraine's Interior Ministry on Tuesday spoke of traces of torture in the nearby town of Balakliya, although the extent may not be "as great as in Bucha".
Presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych announced on Tuesday a Ukrainian offensive on the Luhansk region. "There is now an attack on Lyman, and there could be an advance on Siversk," the presidential aide mentioned two towns on the border of the Luhansk region. He predicted a fierce battle for the town of Svatovo, where, according to Arestovych, the Russian attackers kept military supply depots. According to the Ukrainian governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Hajday, the Russian occupiers have turned off the mobile Internet in the region.
The situation in the occupied areas of southern Ukraine was confusing on Wednesday. The Ukrainian mayor of the city of Melitopol wrote on Telegram on Tuesday evening that columns of Russian troops had fled towards the occupied Crimean peninsula. There was no evidence or confirmation for this statement on Wednesday. On the other hand, a court judgment against participants in a wedding was reported on the peninsula. They are said to have played the song "Chervona Kalina", which is said to be popular with Ukrainian nationalists, at a celebration. The banquet hall owner was sentenced to 15 days in prison, the DJ and dancer to 10 days each, and the bride's mother to five days.