Zelensky says key east Ukraine city of Izyum ‘liberated’

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during a joint news briefing with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Latvian President Egils Levits, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv on Friday.

President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday confirmed Ukrainian troops had recaptured the strategic city of Izyum in the east of the country from Russian forces as part of a large-scale counter-offensive.

In an address to the nation marking 200 days since the beginning of the Russia’s invasion, Zelensky thanked Ukrainian forces who “liberated hundreds of our cities and villages … and most recently Balakliya, Izyum and Kupiansk,” naming three important hubs recently captured by Kyiv’s army.

The head of the Ukrainian military announced early Sunday that as much as 3,000 square kilometres (1,158 square miles) had been wrested from Russia since the offensive began at the beginning of this month.

Military observers have said the confirmed recapture by Ukraine of Izyum would represent be a serious blow to Moscow’s military ambitions in east Ukraine.