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Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, and much of the eastern Donetsk region suffered from widespread blackouts on Sunday as Ukrainian forces continued their counter-offensive.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy blamed the Russian attacks on “critical infrastructure”, saying their goal is “to deprive people of light and heat”. The regions of Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Sumy also suffered from partial blackouts.

Russian forces withdrew from dozens of settlements in the northeastern Kharkiv region over the weekend, losing important supply lines.

Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov accused Russian forces of “cynical revenge” for allegedly attacking civilian infrastructure as they left.

The Ukrainian counter-offensive, originally launched in late August and initially focused on the southern region of Kherson, has moved to the northeast in recent days.

HELP FOR UKRAINE WORKS AND THE INVASION OF RUSSIA LOSES LAND

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov seemed confident that Russia’s morale would plummet “like an avalanche” with “every line of defense falling one after another”.

“I am convinced that after a few more successes at the front, even small victories, Russian troops will begin to flee,” Reznikov said Saturday in an interview translated by Pravda. “Today we have destroyed their supply chains, warehouses and so on.”

A Ukrainian soldier fires on the front line in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Sat. September 3, 2022.
(Photo AP / Kostiantyn Liberov)

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General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the Ukrainian military leader, said the armed forces have recaptured more than 1,150 square miles since the start of the counter-offensive.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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