Russian troops in the Kharkiv direction were withdrawn to preserve personnel, since the Ukrainian army was several times stronger, the head of the Kharkiv region Vitaly Ganchev said on Russia 24 TV channel.
"If we talk about the forces that were deployed for the counter-offensive of the Ukrainian army, they outnumbered our troops by about eight times. Therefore, in order to preserve our personnel, I think it was decided to pull back and regroup," Vitaliy Ganchev, the head of the Kharkiv Region Administration said.
On September 8, it was reported that the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) went on an offensive in the Kharkiv region towards the cities of Balakliya, Kupyansk and Izyum.
The Ukrainian troops originally wanted to enter the town of Balakleya, but they could not due to resistance from the Russian National Guard. The offensive continued bypassing the settlement, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine took control of part of the road between Balakleya and Kupyansk. They also took the village of Volkhov Yar.
In some areas, the Ukrainian army was able to advance for about 20 kilometers. According to WarGonzo Telegram channel, the village of Shevchenkove in the Kharkiv region would be passed from hand to hand during the counteroffensive. The village currently remains under the control of the Armed Forces of Russia.
Against the backdrop of the intensified shelling, residents of several settlements of the Kharkiv region were evacuated to Russia. However, not everyone was able to leave. Many in northern areas of the Kharkiv region could not leave their homes after Ukrainian military men occupied settlements in those areas.
On September 9, the authorities of the Kharkiv region said that the Russian army was trying to drive the Armed Forces of Ukraine out of the suburbs of Balakleya.
On September 9, it was also reported that the Armed Forces of Ukraine cut off supply routes of the Russian army from the settlement of Kupyansk. According to military correspondent Alexander Kots, the Russian Armed Forces has an extra supply route from the east through Oskol, but it is not a convenient one.
On September 10, war correspondent Yuri Kotenok reported that Russian units had to leave the city of Izyum. According to him, the Russian troops were retreating across the Oskol River. The Donetsk People's Republic later confirmed the information.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that the retreat was a manoeuvre to regroup forces in the Donetsk direction.
The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, responded to the latest development on the front.
"I am not a strategist of the level of the Defence Ministry, but there were mistakes made … If no changes are made in the strategy of the special operation today or tomorrow, then I will have to reach out to the leadership of the Ministry of Defense and the leadership of the country in order to explain the real situation to them. The situation is very interesting, I would say, it is an awesome one," Ramzan Kadyrov said.
The Kremlin, in turn, said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was fully informed about everything that happens during the special operation. Putin remains in constant contact with Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu and all military leaders, Peskov said.