Russia has stopped sending units into Ukraine because volunteer soldiers are ‘categorically refusing’ to fight, Kyiv has claimed.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that ‘distrust of the higher command’, fears about the huge death toll and the treatment of wounded soldiers are putting off troops from joining the front lines.
Ukraine’s push around Kharkiv is continuing to gain ground and stretch Russian forces who are surrendering en masse, leading some to hope that a turning point in the war has finally been reached.
The Ukrainian general staff said: ‘The military command of the Russian Federation has suspended the sending of new, already formed units into the territory of Ukraine.
‘The current situation in the theatre of operations and distrust of the higher command forced a large number of volunteers to categorically refuse the prospect of service in combat conditions.
Since Moscow abandoned its main bastion in northeastern Ukraine on Saturday, marking its worst defeat since the early days of the war, Ukrainian troops have recaptured dozens of towns in a stunning shift in battleground momentum.
Moscow has described its troop withdrawal in north-eastern Kharkiv amid Ukraine’s push as a ‘regrouping’ with the aim of focusing on the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
Speaking in the central square of Balakliia, a crucial military supply hub taken by Ukrainian forces late last week, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said 150,000 people had been liberated from Russian rule in the area.