In a milestone victory, Ukrainian flags will be flown once again in Bilohorivka, Luhansk, officials confirmed yesterday.
The eastern province’s governor, Serhiy Haidai, said Ukraine’s armed forces were in ‘complete control’ of Bilohorivka.
‘Soon we will drive these scumbags out of there with a broom. Step by step, centimetre by centimetre, we will liberate our entire land from the invaders,’ he said.
Video footage posted to Telegraph showed Ukrainian soldiers patrolling down a battered Bilohorivka street controlled by Moscow for two and a half months.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a televised address Monday: ‘The occupiers are clearly in a panic.
‘The speed at which our troops are moving. The speed in restoring normal life.’
The liberation of Bilohorivka, a village home to less than 830 people, presents Kyiv with a long-sought opportunity — taking back two critical Russian strongholds only a dozen miles away.
One of them is Lysychansk, on a rise overlooking the Siversky Donets River, seized in July by Moscow and signalled the complete fall of Luhansk into Russian hands.
This was a huge win for Russian president Vladimir Putin, given the Kremlin’s continued drive to control the coal-rich Donbas region.
The other, Sievierdonetsk, surrendered after months of bombardment and dwindling supplies reduced it to a greyed-out husk.
Cogs in Russia’s once iron-clad war machine have begun to fall as unsubstantiated reports suggested Ukrainian troops entered Lysychansk Monday.
And Russia’s restlessness over Ukraine’s gains showed Monday when Moscow-backed parliaments in Luhansk and Donetsk called for referendums to annex the regions.
This month, Ukrainian forces liberated more than 300 settlements in the northeastern Kharkiv region as part of a quick-footed counteroffensive.
The Institute for the Study of War, a US think-tank, suggested the ‘counter-offensive is panicking proxy forces and some Kremlin decision-makers’.
‘Russian leadership may be running out of ways to try to stop Ukrainian forces as they advance across the Oskil River and closer to Luhansk Oblast,’ it said.
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