Russia withdraws troops after “heavy casualties”, demonstrating “the inability to capture major Ukrainian cities,” says the UK

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The withdrawal of Russian troops from a Ukrainian region the fact that they encircled at the start of the war is demonstrating their “inability to capture major Ukrainian cities,” the UK Defense Ministry said Thursday.

In an intelligence update, the ministry said “Ukrainian forces are continuing to counterattack north of Kharkivrecapturing several towns and villages towards the Russian border “.

“Despite Russia’s success in encircling Kharkiv in the early stages of the conflict, it has reportedly withdrawn units from the region to reorganize and replenish its forces following heavy casualties,” the ministry continued.

On Thursday, May 11, a man drives his car among wrecked Russian fighting cars in the village of Vilhivka near Kharkiv, Ukraine.
(Reuters / Ricardo Moraes)

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Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, is the second largest city in the country with an estimated population of nearly 1.5 million.

The destroyed houses are pictured in the village of Vilhivka near Kharkiv, Ukraine on Thursday 11 May.

The destroyed houses are pictured in the village of Vilhivka near Kharkiv, Ukraine on Thursday 11 May.

“The withdrawal of Russian forces from the Kharkiv Oblast is a tacit acknowledgment of Russia’s inability to capture major Ukrainian cities where they expected limited resistance from the population, “he added.

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A damaged Russian tank was seen on a highway to Kiev, Ukraine.

A damaged Russian tank was seen on a highway to Kiev, Ukraine.
(AP / Efrem Lukatsky)

The ministry says the withdrawn forces “are likely to deploy on the eastern bank of the Siverskyi Donets River, forming a blocking force to protect the western flank of the main concentration of Russian forces and the main supply routes for operations in the vicinity of Izyum.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine lasted 78 days.