Highlights

  • Ukraine claims capture of territory, Russian soldiers
  • Ukrainian national flags flutter over re-captured towns
  • Russia forced to withdraw due to Ukraine's offensive

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Ukraine says it has reclaimed more territory, captured Russian soldiers

As blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flags fluttered over newly liberated towns, the Ukrainian military said it had freed more than 20 settlements in 24 hours.

Ukrainian troops retook a wide swath of territory from Russia on Monday, pushing all the way back to the northeastern border in some places, and claimed to have captured many Russian soldiers as part of a lightning advance that forced Moscow to make a hasty retreat.

A spokesman for Ukrainian military intelligence said Russian troops were surrendering en masse as “they understand the hopelessness of their situation.” A Ukrainian presidential adviser said there were so many POWs that the country was running out of space to accommodate them.

As blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flags fluttered over newly liberated towns, the Ukrainian military said it had freed more than 20 settlements in 24 hours.

In recent days, Kyiv's forces have captured territory at least twice the size of greater London, according to the British Defence Ministry.

After months of little discernible movement on the battlefield, the momentum has lifted Ukrainian morale and provoked rare public criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin's war.

“In some areas of the front, our defenders reached the state border with the Russian Federation,” said Oleh Syniehubov, governor of the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Over the weekend, the Russian Defence Ministry said troops would be pulled from two areas in that region to regroup in the eastern region of Donetsk.

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There were reports of chaos as Russian troops pulled out.

“The Russians were here in the morning. Then at noon, they suddenly started shouting wildly and began to run away, charging off in tanks and armoured vehicles,” Dmytro Hrushchenko, a resident of recently liberated Zaliznychne, a small town near the eastern front line, told Sky News.

Video taken by the Ukrainian military showed soldiers raising the Ukrainian flag over battle-damaged buildings.

Efforts to disarm land mines were underway in the recaptured areas, along with a search for any remaining Russian troops, Ukrainian military officials said.

It was not yet clear if the Ukrainian blitz could signal a turning point in the war.

Momentum has switched back and forth before, but rarely with such a big and sudden swing.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich did not specify the number of Russian prisoners but said the POWs would be exchanged for Ukrainian service members held by Moscow.

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