Ukraine has launched a major counteroffensive. The troops recaptured several thousand square kilometers from the Russians. Since the Russians withdrew around Kyiv, there are even 60,000 square kilometers.

The Ukrainian army has retaken a total of 60,000 square kilometers of territory around Kyiv since the Russians withdrew in April. This emerges from an analysis by the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Since the start of the Ukrainian counter-offensive on August 29 alone, another 9,000 square kilometers have been added. However, the ISW points out that this conquest is not unique, but part of the long struggle of the Ukrainians to liberate their country. Ukraine is not suddenly reclaiming it – it has been continuously for months.

However, according to the ISW experts, there are differences in the current withdrawal of the Russians from the metropolis of Kharkiv compared to the withdrawal from the Kyiv region in April.

1. Putin proactively withdrew troops from Kyiv when he saw they were not going to win. On the other hand, his soldiers had to flee from Kharkiv because they could no longer stop the Ukrainian attacks

2. The Russian troops, which withdrew from the Kyiv region, were still able to record successes in eastern Ukraine. The units that are now being driven out of Kharkiv are having enough trouble holding a defensive line. Not to mention their own new territorial gains.

3. And the crucial difference: after withdrawing from Kyiv, Russia decided where the next fighting would take place. Ukraine now has the reins of action in its hands.

The ISW researchers agree that the war is still far from over. But the retaking of the Kharkiv region is part of a long-term pattern: the Ukrainians are gaining ground, the Russians are losing ground. “That could be an indication of a Ukrainian victory.”

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