RUSSIAN troops are abandoning huge quantities of weapons as they flee a lightning Ukrainian offensive that’s left them on the brink of collapse.
Images show Vladimir Putin’s forces have run away leaving tanks and other kit behind in the face of the onslaught leading some attackers to believe they’re seeing the “beginning of the end” of the war.
Ukraine has now said its forces have now liberated nearly 1600 square miles of territory – a figure which has tripled over the last two days.
The key city of Izium is now in Ukrainian hands and they are now just 50 miles from the Russian border as Moscow’s troops desperately withdraw in a bid to hold onto the land they captured.
“I think it’s the beginning of the end for Russian occupants,” a 25-year-old Ukrainian soldier named Marty told the Telegraph.
“They were literally running from their positions, leaving their stuff and heading to the occupied territories. I think more significant gains are coming.”
Another soldier, Birdie, said his unit overheard a Russian tank unit saying “we’re totally f*****d” before they fled.
“I saw small units of up to five of our guys on foot who were destroying huge numbers or Russian vehicles – three tanks at one time,” said the 31-year-old.
“They left a huge amount of vehicles and ammunition. We couldn’t transfer or evacuate it all to our rear.
“There were a lot of uniforms lying around. We caught some of these guys trying to escape in civilian clothes, they were telling some incredible b*****t trying to save themselves.”
Some Russians were unable to distinguish their own forces from advancing Ukrainian troops.
“Then I heard them die in real time, while I was listening,” he said.
Ukrainian forces kept pushing north in the Kharkiv region and advancing to its south and east, said Kyiv’s army chief General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi.
President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed Ukraine’s offensive as a potential breakthrough in the six-month-old war.
“These last few days the Russian army has shown us its best side, its back. It’s a good choice for them to flee,” he said.
He said this winter could bring more rapid gains of territory if Kyiv can get more powerful weapons.
“I believe that this winter is a turning point, and it can lead to the rapid de-occupation of Ukraine,” he said.
“We see how they are fleeing in some directions. If we were a little stronger with weapons, we would de-occupy faster.”
The swift fall of Izium in Kharkiv province is Moscow’s worst defeat since its troops were forced back from the capital Kyiv in March, and could prove a turning point in the six-month war.
The city was a major Russian bastion in the area of northeastern Ukraine it still held and its defeat could mark a major turning point in the war.
Defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said Ukraine’s offensive had gone far “better than expected”, describing it as a “snowball rolling down a hill”.
“It’s a sign that Russia can be defeated,” he said.
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