Ukraine stepping up counteroffensive to take control of Kharkiv region

Ukrainian forces are stepping up a counteroffensive to take control of wider areas in the eastern region of Kharkiv, including the key strategic area of Izyum.

However, a Ukrainian military expert indicated that the country needs a long-term strategy and more military assistance from the West to take back control of more territories.

Russia's defense ministry announced on Saturday that its troops would be regrouped from the Izyum area in the Kharkiv region. The move is widely received as an announcement to withdraw from the area.

Izyum is believed to be an important base for Russia to deploy and deliver supplies to its troops in the Donbas region.

General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine's armed forces, posted a message on social media on Sunday. He claimed that more than 3,000 square kilometers of territory are returned under Ukrainian control since the beginning of September.

The US Institute for the Study of War said in its assessment on Saturday, that the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region is routing Russian forces. It also said "Russian forces are not conducting a controlled withdrawal."

The institute also said "the liberation of Izyum would be the most significant Ukrainian military achievement since winning the Battle of Kyiv in March."

Former Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Ihor Kabanenko said Ukrainian forces succeeded in "preventing a possibility for Russian troops to reinforce their forces" by taking control of their supply routes.

Kabanenko also said "more activities" are needed to liberate Ukraine's territories in a "step-by-step strategy."