Moscow/Kyiv: Ukraine has turned its attention to Luhansk province after forcing the Russian army to retreat from Kharkiv. The Ukrainian military claimed to have captured the town of Bilohorivka in the Luhansk province on Tuesday. In the wake of these new counterattacks by the Ukrainian army, the Russian-controlled regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine have announced a referendum. On the other hand, Turkish President Recep Erdogan claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to end the conflict in Ukraine as soon as possible.
A few days ago, the Ukrainian army launched an attack on Russian-controlled Kharkiv and forced the Russian forces to retreat. After that, the campaign of the Ukrainian military was considered to have cooled down. At the same time, Russian troops launched fierce and crushing attacks on Ukraine. Therefore, the Ukrainian counteroffensive had indicated limiting itself only to Kharkiv and Kherson in the south. However, the Ukrainian army has launched attacks in the Luhansk region, and Ukraine is claimed to have captured its first area from this region in the last 24 hours.
According to Ukraine, the town of Bilohorivka in the Luhansk region was captured. This area is part of the city of Sievierodonetsk in the Luhansk province. Russia had announced in July that it had taken complete control of the Luhansk province, including Bilohorivka. However, Ukraine has also launched counterattacks on Russian forces in this region, which draws much attention. Although Russia has acknowledged the sparking of a conflict in Luhansk, it has not acknowledged Ukraine’s occupation of Bilohorivka. While Ukraine was attacking Luhansk, the Russian Defence Ministry reported Moscow had launched a major offensive on Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.
Meanwhile, Russia has initiated steps to recognize the territory it occupies in Ukraine officially. The administrations of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions have announced referendums. The heads of the respective provinces said that the referendum would be held in the next week to determine whether these provinces would join Russia or not. This information was confirmed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and former President Dmitry Medvedev. Nevertheless, Ukraine has reacted strongly to these events, claiming that the referendum was announced out of fear of defeat.
Given the Ukrainian counteroffensive and the referendum announcement, reports state Russia wants to end the conflict in Ukraine as soon as possible. Turkish President Recep Erdogan made a claim in this regard. In an interview with PBS, a US news channel, Erdogan cited the discussion with the Russian President in Samarkand. The Turkish President stated that Putin had expressed his desire to end the conflict in Ukraine. However, President Erdogan also claimed that the battle would not likely stop in the current situation. He said that Russia and Ukraine had agreed on the extradition of 200 prisoners.