Ukrainian President Zelensky shared a video published by the Ukrainian Armed Forces showing triumphant soldiers standing on a Russian flag in the battered Kharkiv Oblast city of Balakliya. Yesterday and this morning, this publication reported that the UAF has launched a new offensive, reportedly aimed at liberating or degrading Russian positions in Izyum, a major logistics hub for the ongoing campaign against Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.
?Today, Ukrainian service members have liberated the town of Balakliya, Kharkiv region. pic.twitter.com/XclzDAP3LB
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) September 8, 2022
The Russian National Guards troops force left to defend the city was apparently composed of about 2,000 soldiers, of which a large number have been captured. However, pro-Russian sources have claimed that a contingent fought out of the encirclement in the last 12 hours and escaped. Since the Russian withdrawal from Kyiv and Kharkiv in early April, this has been the most significant Ukrainian victory in the battered oblast which has been fought over consistently since February 24th.
The city is on the north-east side of the Siverskyi Donets river close to where it is joined by the Balakliya briver which runs through the city. It is an important railroad junction in the oblast. Balakliya hosts the administration of Balakliya urban hromada, one of the hromadas of Ukraine. In 2021 it had an estimated population of 26,921.
Until 18 July 2020, Balakliya was the administrative center of Balakliya Raion. The raion was abolished in July 2020 as part of the administrative reform of Ukraine, which reduced the number of raions of Kharkiv Oblast to seven. The area of Balakliya Raion was merged into Izyum Raion. (wiki)