A Ukrainian counterattack that began on Friday to the east of the city of Kharkiv has led to the recapture of several villages, according to the regional administrator.
CNN has geolocated and verified a video showing Ukrainian troops in control of Vilkhivka, one of the settlements that’s roughly 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the Russian border in Ukraine’s northeast.
Oleg Synegubov, Kharkiv regional administrator, said that a number of villages around Malaya Rogan were retaken by Ukrainian forces. The villages are roughly 20 kilometers (12 miles) from central Kharkiv, which has been nearly encircled by Russian forces since the early weeks of the invasion.
Video shows firefight: Additional video, published on Telegram Saturday, shows an intense firefight between Ukrainian forces — including members of the Azov Battalion — and Russian forces in the village of Vilkhivka. The Azov Battalion began as an ultra-nationalist militia in eastern Ukraine, and has since been absorbed into the Ukrainian military.
In the video, the firefights between Russian and Ukrainian forces are seen among the houses and backyards of the village. At one point, Ukrainian troops move toward the village school, where Russian forces appear to be holed up.
The soldier who uploaded the edited the video, claimed on Telegram the battalion had killed “about 70 troops,” and commandeered a number of Russian military vehicles. CNN could not confirm the Russian military deaths, or the vehicle captures.
Claims of Russian prisoners: The soldier also claimed the battalion took 27 Russian troops prisoner. In the edited video, a number of apparently captured Russian soldiers are seen blindfolded and some are stripped of most of their clothes.
They are seen in the video being crammed into the back of cars and trucks and driven away by members of the battalion. Some were clearly injured.
Ukrainian counterattacks: The success of Ukrainian forces around Kharkiv has been mirrored further north, near the city of Sumy, where Ukrainian troops have liberated a number of settlements, according to videos geolocated and verified by CNN. A separate counterattack in the south about 63 miles (103 kilometers) northwest of Mariupol also led to the liberation of two villages from Russian forces, according to the Zaporizhzhia regional military administration.
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