President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his overnight address Monday that Ukrainian troops had recaptured more than 6,000 square kilometers (2,400 square miles) this month alone — an area about the size of Delaware. He urged Kiev and its allies to “strengthen cooperation to defeat Russian terror”.
The eastern city of Kreminna — in the Donbas region that was the focal point of the Kremlin war — was the last to which Russian troops withdrew, according to local governor Serhiy Haidai, while fierce fighting continues in several other urban areas.
NBC News has not verified the claims.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised “significant progress by Ukrainians, especially in the northeast” while speaking during a diplomatic trip to Mexico City late Monday, though he stressed that Russia still has significant weapons and troops in Ukraine.
Washington has said Ukraine took advantage of the Western-made weapons now in its arsenal, including US-supplied HIMARS missile systems.
But Kiev seemed determined to ensure that the apparent shift in momentum was felt in Europe, where evidence of its ability to fight back the Russian invaders was a timely intervention for those increasingly concerned. The impact of the war on energy supplies would affect working families as well as political ones.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter On Tuesday he had heard “disappointing signals” from Germany about its willingness to provide new weapons. “What is Berlin afraid of that Kiev is not?” he asked.
However, the war and the danger to ordinary people are far from over.
Russian shelling has rained down on positions from which President Vladimir Putin’s troops have withdrawn, according to local officials.
“It is of course far from the end of the war, but it is a great relief for the people of Kharkov,” said Karina Detyuk, deputy director of the Zoological Park of the city of Kharkov, which remained under Ukrainian control while large parts of the surrounding region were occupied, NBC News told.
“I really hope that the current counter-offensive will force Ukraine to win,” said Detyuk, 32, who said poor mobile connectivity is still making her wait to contact family and friends in newly liberated areas.
She added that she hoped Ukraine’s allies would send more aid. “Please believe in us, don’t leave us alone,” Detyuk said.