Ukrainian troops piled pressure on retreating Russian forces on Tuesday, pressing a counteroffensive that has produced major gains and a stunning blow to Moscow’s military prestige.
It was not yet clear if the Ukrainian blitz in the northeast after months of little discernible movement could signal a turning point in the nearly seven-month war. But the country’s officials were buoyant, releasing footage showing their forces burning Russian flags and inspecting abandoned charred tanks. In one video, border guards tore down a poster that read, “We are one people with Russia.”
Momentum has switched back and forth before, but rarely with such a big and sudden swing, and the Kremlin struggled to respond to the defeat, its largest since its forces abandoned a botched attempt to capture Kyiv early in the war.
Late Monday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his troops have retaken more than 6,000 square kilometers (2,300 square miles) — an area more than twice the size of Luxembourg — in a matter of weeks.