The Ukrainian military says Russian forces in the Kharkiv region have suffered significant losses, leading some soldiers to desert and abandon their uniforms, hoping to blend in while wearing civilian clothing.
“Some enemy units suffered significant losses,” the military’s General Staff said in a situational update on Friday.
“Personnel of the occupying forces in civilian clothes resort to desertion and try to return to the territory of the Russian federation,” it added. “So, during the day, more than 15 such cases were noted.”
The General Staff reiterated the Ukrainian military assessment that it had advanced almost 50 kilometers (31 miles) into Russian controlled territory in three days, and said Moscow’s armies were retreating.
“The occupiers are trying to evacuate wounded personnel and damaged military equipment to the areas of Vilkhuvatka and Borodoyarske settlements,” it said, referring to towns in Kharkiv.
Geo-located social media videos confirm Ukrainian forces are fast advancing in the region.
Some context: In the past 24 hours, Kyiv has re-taken the city of Balakliia in Kharkiv, which was under Russian occupation for six months.
Ukraine has closed in on the important logistical and supply node of Kupyansk, which the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says Ukrainian forces are likely to capture in the coming days.
“Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv Oblast counteroffensives advanced to within 20 kilometers (12 miles) of Russia’s key logistical node in Kupyansk on September 8,” the ISW said in its daily update on the war in Ukraine on Thursday.
The ISW said Ukrainian forces "will likely capture Kupyansk in the next 72 hours," which may lead to "severely degrading but not completely severing" Russian ground lines of communication to Izyum in the southeast of Kharkiv.