Ukraine’s highly reported southern offensive was a tactical disinformation campaign to distract Russia from the real target – the northeastern Kharkiv region – The Guardian has revealed.
Ukrainian Armed Forces' lightning counter-offensive has reportedly achieved surprise advances on the northeastern front and have now “retaken a third of occupied Kharkiv,” which has been under Russian occupation since 24 February.
The Guardian’s exclusive now confirms the diversionary tactic of Ukrainian armed forces to disinform Russia and 'trick' them into sending resources south, leaving the Kharkiv region in a more vulnerable position.
A tactical Ukrainian disinformation campaign on a southern counter-offensive was successful in diverting Russian military resources away from the northeastern front line in the Kharkiv region to the city of Kherson and the south.
Ukrainian President Zelensky, speaking on Telegram, stated that 30 settlements had now been liberated in the Kharkiv region by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, while various other operations were still underway to secure parts of the regional territory.
Valery Zalouzhny, said his troops had taken over 1,000 km2 of his territory that had been formerly occupied. "In recent days, the Russian army has shown us what it has best: it’s back. After all, it is a good choice for them to flee," he said. "There is no place in Ukraine for the occupiers, and there never will be," he added.
An estimate of 2,500km2 of territory has been won back, according to Ukrainian authorities. Re-capturing towns such as Kapiansk, Izum and Balakliya have strategic significance that has broken up Russian supply lines to the front.
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With the entry of the Ukrainian army into the city of Kupyansk, a key locality in the hands of the Russian army for several months, it appears Ukrainian armed forces are building on the momentum that appears to be on their side since the Crimea attacks.
The takeover of Kupiansk by Ukrainian forces can pose a serious problem for Moscow, as the city is on key supply routes to other Russian positions on the frontline. The recapture of another strategic city, Izium, forced the Russian army to withdraw its troops to defend the separatist zone of Donetsk.
Meanwhile, The Moscow Times has reported that Russia is currently regrouping and sending reinforcements to Kharkiv to push back the counter-offensive.