According to Sky News Ukraine War Diaries contributors, Ukraine is now optimistic that Russia’s war with it will soon end. This is the first time this has happened since February when their country was invaded.
After months of deadlock, the Ukrainian forces launched a surprise counteroffensive this week. They claim that it has led to significant territorial gains in the disputed Donbas region.
“Ukrainian forces started an offensive operation in the north part and east of Kharkiv region. We retook the Russian occupied territory for a few months. It took us five to six days,” Ilyas says. His wife and two children are now in refuge in Poland.
He continues, “It feels like all the people around me have this ray light in their lives, because you see the operation progressing successfully.”
“People are feeling really inspired and motivated, and everything seems to be returning to normal.”
“I am sure that we will experience some operational pause at some point, but we are witnessing an absolute miracle right now.”
“We know that this war will end with victory for Ukraine.”
Ukrainian forces claim they have retaken more than 6,000 square kilometers in the east, thanks to military aid from Europe and the United States.
Seva, a military volunteer, is familiar with the region. Although he is originally from Dnipro he has been providing supplies to the Donbas frontline soldiers for five months.
Seva, speaking from Poland after returning from Europe to pick up a modified SUV for the frontline.
“We have the occupied Kharkiv area, it’s great for us and we hope everything will continue in the same direction.
“It was great to see people stop by and show the big finger [thumbs-up], and wish us victory and to occupy our territories and win over Russia.
“So many people smiled when I passed them in the car [SUV]” and waved their hands. It was a great, wonderful, and good feeling.
Oksana, a Kyiv resident, found the news about alleged war crimes in captured territories distressing, despite military successes this week.
“Seeing people who have been in occupation for nearly half a year, welcoming our soldiers is both heartbreaking and heartwarming.
It reminds her of Bucha, she says. Sky News confirmed two videos that showed bodies in the streets of the town, one with seven corpses and another showing the street’s early stages. Satellite imagery revealed evidence of makeshift mass graves at 45 feet. Russia denied responsibility.
Oksana does see the similarities.
“You can read the horrors of the occupation. It’s almost like a bunch of little Buchas in Kharkiv with torture chambers and all the terrors that Russia brings to Ukraine.
The creators of Sky News’ award winning series StoryCast created Ukraine War Diaries, a weekly podcast that follows those who live on Europe’s new frontline and those who escape it.
Producer: Robert Mulhern
Additional writing and promotion: David Chipakupaku