Ukrainians Near Kharkiv Claim They Pushed Russians All the Way Back to Border

A jubilant contingent of the Ukrainian military say they’ve pushed invading Russian troops back across their border north of Kharkiv, posting a photo with the Ukrainian colored stake and the message, “Mr. President! We made it!”

The total pushback marks a major success eradicating any Russian gains in the region since the war broke out. While western military analysts have not been able to verify the number of troops or the exact area where the photo was taken, the photo appears to mark a considerable success in an unprovoked war Russia clearly thought it could easily win.

CNN reports that Ukraine has liberated several villages around Kharkiv, which was one of the hardest hit cities early in the invasion. It was, at the time, Ukraine’s second largest city, but now most of the civilian population has fled. “Their advances threaten the symbolic embarrassment of expelling the Kremlin’s forces back to their own border while posing the strategic threat of cutting Russia’s supply lines into Ukraine and its forces further south in the Donbas region,” an official told CNN.

Fierce fighting continues elsewhere, with Russian troops concentrating their remaining armaments on the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. “The Russians are concentrating their forces there. This is the only place where they can have some progress. It will be the hottest area in the coming days,” advisor to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry Vadym Denysenko said on state television Monday, according to Reuters. “I hope we will be able to repel them. Russian attacks are choking… retreating, blowing up bridges. Our forces are counter-attacking.”

Meanwhile, Europe is preparing to launch another round of sanctions with the hope of further restricting the Kremlin’s ability to wage the war. McDonald’s announced Monday it would sell its remaining business assets in Russia, marking the end of a 30-year affair in which Russians embraced American culture. The fast food giant closed its 850 restaurants in March, but it has now decided that the move will be permanent. “The humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and the precipitating unpredictable operating environment, have led McDonald’s to conclude that continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald’s values,” the company said in a statement.

French automaker Renault also announced Monday that it turned over its Russian assets to the Kremlin, marking the end of one of the remaining economic ties by major Western companies to the increasingly isolated country. Production of Renault cars will cease and production of a revamped Moskvitch model will take its place. “I’ve decided to list the factory as the city’s asset and resume production under the historical brand Moskvitch,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Monday. “We will open a new page in the history of the Moskvitch in 2022.”

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