Ukraine braces for Russian fury over military casualties in Kharkiv

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

EXCLUSIVE: Winner the war in Ukraine comes down to weapons and speed, a senior official told Fox News Digital following Kyiv’s major advances in Kharkiv this month.

“We have to keep the pressure on them,” Yuriy Sak, adviser to Ukraine’s defense minister, told Fox News Digital. “If we give them time to recover, if we give them time to rebuild their abilities, then it will be more possible for them to fight back.

“We must maintain the momentum, and we must continue,” he added, noting that the momentum must also continue to thwart international weapons if Ukraine is to succeed.

Ukrainian forces recaptured almost the entire northern region of Kharkiv, liberating over 400 towns and cities and forcing Russian troops to withdraw.

RUSSIAN TROOPS EMBEDDED BY UKRAINIAN FORCES AND DNIEPER RIVER, BARGE CARRYING SUPPLIES TO RUSSIAN TROOPS SINKS

The advances in northern Ukraine were part of a long-awaited counter-offensive – first mentioned in mid-May – which also included an offensive push into the southern region of Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces are seen in Izyum after the withdrawal of Russian forces from the city in Kharkiv oblast, Ukraine, September 29.  16, 2022.

Ukrainian forces are seen in Izyum after the withdrawal of Russian forces from the city in Kharkiv oblast, Ukraine, September 29. 16, 2022.
(Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

But even Kyiv was surprised by his success in Kharkiv, where he managed to take the Russian forces by surprise and force them to retreat in haste, in some cases across Russia’s borders.

“It was a mission that, for good reason, was kept secret for a long time,” Sak said. “The result of this counter-offensive even exceeded our own expectations.”

The adviser said it was not just the size of the territory that was beyond Kyiv’s imagination, but the success rate of the mission.

PUTIN DETERMINED TO PURSUE ‘UNIFYING INTERNATIONAL AGENDA’, RUSSIA AIMS TO ANNEX EASTERN UKRAINE

Sak claimed that for every Ukrainian soldier killed in the counteroffensive, somewhere between “9 to 10” Russian soldiers were killed.

Reports have since surfaced suggesting there was a breakdown in command and control in the ranks of Russia during its withdrawal from Kharkiv, prompting its soldiers to abandon not only military equipment but also their own troops.

Sak said Ukrainian defense officials had also learned that, in an attempt to withdraw more quickly, Russian troops left behind soldiers killed in action and sometimes shot their own wounded, although he said that these accounts had yet to be confirmed.

Ukrainian troops recaptured a large swath of territory from Russia on Monday, pushing back to the northeastern border in some places, and claimed to have captured scores of Russian troops in a meteoric advance that forced Moscow to make a hasty retreat.

Ukrainian troops recaptured a large swath of territory from Russia on Monday, pushing back to the northeastern border in some places, and claimed to have captured scores of Russian troops in a meteoric advance that forced Moscow to make a hasty retreat.
(AP Photo/Kostiantyn Liberov)

RUSSIA REMOVES CRIMEA’S BLACK SEA SUBMARINE FLEET: UK INTEL

“The Ukrainian army has had enormous success,” I said. “They know what they are fighting for. They want to win this war.”

But Western officials said it was too early to tell whether Ukraine’s ability to retake some 3,300 square miles was a turning point or whether Russia has another scheme operational in his weathered sleeve.

“We are not fully aware of what they are capable of in this state of desperation – which they are definitely in now,” the adviser said. “We have to be ready for anything. Again, this comes back to the question of haste and speed.

“They learn from their own mistakes,” I continued. “From a purely logical point of view, it is possible to assume that the next steps will be accompanied by a more sophisticated response.”

Sak said Ukrainian defense officials rely heavily on intelligence to determine their offensive strategy and would not guess what Russia might do next.

“Our plan is simple: keep fighting until we win this war,” he added.

Ukrainian soldiers sit on infantry fighting vehicles as they advance near Izyum in eastern Ukraine on September 29.  16, 2022.

Ukrainian soldiers sit on infantry fighting vehicles as they advance near Izyum in eastern Ukraine on September 29. 16, 2022.
(Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images)

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Sak pointed out that as Ukrainian forces won in Kharkiv, Russia increasingly relied on civilian targets and the use of “missile terror” in areas like the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Ukraine continues to demand greater air defense such as anti-rocket systems, fourth-generation aircraft and longer-range missile systems. But the White House has not yet agreed to these big tickets.

“We can be as successful as the amount of weapons we receive,” he said. “We understand that this war is far from over.”