Putin’s annexation unravels as Ukraine liberates another key town
Ukrainian military wave flag in Zolotaya Balka in Kherson region
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Ukraine have broken another Russian frontline after its armed forces liberated the village of Zolota Balka. Zolota Balka is a key village in Kherson, a region of Ukraine that Russia illegally annexed this week. The village had served as a major base for Russian artillery shelling of Ukrainian positions along the northwest Kherson battlefront.
Its re-capture is a major boost for Ukraine, just a day after also taking Lyman, a pivotal eastern logistics hub.
Lyman and Zolota Balka both sit in territories that President Putin annexed this week and claimed would “forever” be Russian.
According to the Ukrainian military, its forces broke through the Russian line of defence at Zolota Balka and pushed them back last night, following heavy clashes.
Footage posted online showed a Ukrainian soldier holding up a Ukrainian flag alongside two relieved villagers.
Jimmy Rushton, a Kyiv-based independent foreign policy expert, confirmed the capture, tweeting: “Ukrainian military liberated the village of Zolota Balka – a village in Kherson Oblast on the west bank of the Dnipro.”
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Commenting on the latest capture, another foreign policy expert Michael Mackay remarked: “Zolota Balka is on the right bank of the Dnipro River, 67 km along the T-04-03 road from temporarily-occupied Beryslav.
“This settlement was the main base for Russian artillery shelling Ukrainian positions along the northwest Kherson battlefront.”
Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, also boasted about the latest liberation.
One account @Tendar, which monitors the conflict, questioned whether the seizure means Ukraine’s offensive in Kherson could be “getting serious this time”.
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The liberation signals that Ukraine is battling Russian forces across the entire frontline, as they push into Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk and Kherson.
These four regions were all annexed by President Putin, who staged an elaborate Kremlin ceremony on Friday to celebrate the move following “referendums” denounced as a sham by Kyiv and its allies.
However, losing the Kherson village is yet another humiliating moment for President Putin after losing Lyman yesterday.
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The Russian retreat from Lyman was Russia’s largest battlefield loss since Ukraine’s lightning counteroffensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region last month.
Earlier today, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed that Lyman had been “fully cleared” of Russian forces.
He ridiculed Russia’s losses, claiming that Russian generals were now “biting each other” after a series of embarrassing setbacks.
On Saturday. the Russian defence ministry said it was pulling troops out of the area “in connection with the creation of a threat of encirclement”.
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