byJames Kilner for the Telegraph – 17.09.22
The development exposes one of Russia's key remaining supply routes and the Luhansk region it has vowed to defend
Ukrainian soldiers have broken through Russia's frontline along the Oskil River, exposing an important supply route and swathes of territory that the Kremlin has promised to defend.
Fighting has focused on Kupiansk since Russian forces fled a surprise Ukrainian offensive around Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine last week but now military bloggers from both sides have said that Russia's defence has crumbled once again.
"Kupiansk has surrendered. The enemy is on the left bank of the Oskil," the pro-Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky told his 450,000 subscribers last night.
Western commentators confirmed the development. James Rushton, a British military analyst based in Ukraine, said he didn't think that Russian forces would be able to hold their defensive line along the Oskil River for much longer.
"The Ukrainians have already crossed it," he said. "Considering they now control all of Kupiansk, half of the city is on the eastern bank, any defensive line the Russians might try to form along the river is already very vulnerable."
Russian forces fled across the Oskil River, which runs north-south from central Russia into Ukraine, after a surprise Ukrainian offensive recaptured roughly 2,500 square miles of territory, an area nearly equal to the size of Devon.
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Russia's defence is said to have crumbled again following a Ukrainian counter-offensive last week Credit: Juan BARRETO / AFP