Another blow for Putin after Ukraine troops retake key village

The recapturing of a small village in the Luhansk province could be a turning point in the months-long war (Pictures: Reuters/REX)

Ukraine has ramped up the pressure against Russia further by liberating a village within the Donbas region.

In a milestone victory, Ukrainian flags will be flown once again in Bilohorivka, Luhansk, officials confirmed yesterday.

The eastern province’s governor, Serhiy Haidai, said Ukraine’s armed forces were in ‘complete control’ of Bilohorivka.

‘Soon we will drive these scumbags out of there with a broom. Step by step, centimetre by centimetre, we will liberate our entire land from the invaders,’ he said.

Video footage posted to Telegraph showed Ukrainian soldiers patrolling down a battered Bilohorivka street controlled by Moscow for two and a half months.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a televised address Monday: ‘The occupiers are clearly in a panic.

‘The speed at which our troops are moving. The speed in restoring normal life.’

Mandatory Credit: Photo by EyePress News/Shutterstock (13393758c) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky paid a surprise visit on Wednesday September 14, 2022 to the newly recaptured town of Izium, a key town located in the northeastern Kharkiv region, and thanked his army for their success in a lightning counteroffensive to retaking their territory from Russian forces. Thousands of Russian troops fled Izium at the weekend, abandoned large amounts of ammunition and equipment, in Moscow\'s worst defeat since they were driven back from the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in March. As Zelenskiy looked on and sang the national anthem, the Ukrainian flag was raised in front of the burned-out city hall building in the warn-torn town, where apartment buildings are blackened by fire and pockmarked by artillery strikes. Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits the recaptured town of Izium, Ukraine - 16 Sep 2022

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia is ‘panicking’ amid the counteroffensive (Picture: EyePress News/Shutterstock)
Russia and Ukraine have been fighting in a tug-of-war battle over the Luhansk region (Picture: Reuters)

The liberation of Bilohorivka, a village home to less than 830 people, presents Kyiv with a long-sought opportunity — taking back two critical Russian strongholds only a dozen miles away.

One of them is Lysychansk, on a rise overlooking the Siversky Donets River, seized in July by Moscow and signalled the complete fall of Luhansk into Russian hands.

This was a huge win for Russian president Vladimir Putin, given the Kremlin’s continued drive to control the coal-rich Donbas region.

Lysychansk was, for a time, the last city in Luhansk Ukraine had control over (Picture: AP)
The city was reduced to a skeleton as charred cars became a common sight (Picture: AP)
Ukraine’s counteroffensive has liberated more than 300 settlements (Picture: Getty)

The other, Sievierdonetsk, surrendered after months of bombardment and dwindling supplies reduced it to a greyed-out husk.

Cogs in Russia’s once iron-clad war machine have begun to fall as unsubstantiated reports suggested Ukrainian troops entered Lysychansk Monday.

And Russia’s restlessness over Ukraine’s gains showed Monday when Moscow-backed parliaments in Luhansk and Donetsk called for referendums to annex the regions.

This month, Ukrainian forces liberated more than 300 settlements in the northeastern Kharkiv region as part of a quick-footed counteroffensive.

The Institute for the Study of War, a US think-tank, suggested the ‘counter-offensive is panicking proxy forces and some Kremlin decision-makers’.

‘Russian leadership may be running out of ways to try to stop Ukrainian forces as they advance across the Oskil River and closer to Luhansk Oblast,’ it said.

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