Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Gains Momentum, Retakes 80 Square Miles from Russian Forces

Ukraine’s army has successfully retaken some territory from occupying Russian forces in its counteroffensive, according to defense officials. Over the past week, Ukraine has reclaimed approximately 7 square miles of land in the south and east of the country. This includes areas near the city of Bakhmut, which Ukrainian forces had lost to Russian forces in May after months of fighting. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar stated that this brings the total amount of land retaken since the start of the counteroffensive to around 80 square miles.

In a separate development, Samantha Power, the head of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), announced that over $500 million in additional humanitarian aid would be provided to Ukraine. Power emphasized the U.S.’s commitment to standing with the people affected by Russia’s war and providing life-saving assistance to those in need.

Russia has continued its attacks in Ukraine, targeting the city center of Kharkiv overnight. The attack was the third on the city within 24 hours, following earlier missile strikes that killed one person and injured four. Russian forces fired four S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, but no casualties were reported. Norway has also pledged to supply another 1,000 “Black Hornet” micro drones to Ukraine as part of a larger defense package. The drones, donated through a deal with Oregon-based Teledyne FLIR Defense, are used for operations in GPS-denied environments and can transmit live visible and thermal videos.

The mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov, rejected Russian accusations of Ukrainian terrorism following an attack on the Kerch Bridge. Terekhov pointed out the death and destruction inflicted by Russia upon the city since the invasion began in February 2022, stating that they are the ones responsible for acts of terrorism. Russia has also faced a shortage of counter-battery radars, which are crucial for intercepting Ukrainian artillery fired at their positions.

The termination of the Black Sea grain initiative by Russia has caused wheat prices to jump 3.5%. The initiative, which aimed to alleviate a global food crisis after Russia invaded Ukraine and blockaded its ports, allowed the export of commercial food and fertilizer supplies from three Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea. Russia has suspended the humanitarian corridor for delivering key Ukrainian grain to global markets, citing its dissatisfaction with the agreement.

In a further escalation, Russia has accused Ukraine of carrying out an attack on the Crimean bridge, resulting in the death of two people. The bridge itself was not damaged, but strikes occurred in an area leading to the bridge. Russia has seized control of French food producer Danone’s Russian subsidiary and Danish beer maker Carlsberg’s stake in a brewer in the country.