'They made a good choice to run,' says Zelenskyy as Ukrainian offensive gains ground

The Ukrainian counteroffensive won't win the war but it is a humiliating setback for Russia - Robert Moore reports

Ukraine's President said Russian soldiers made "a good choice to run" as he claimed a counter-offensive in the south and east of the country has seen hundreds of miles worth of territory recaptured.

As the war enters its 200th day, Moscow ordered a troop pullback from the second largest city of Kharkiv, in a dramatic change of the state of play that poses the biggest challenge to the Kremlin since it launched the invasion earlier this year.

The counterattack began in the final days of August and at first focused on the southern region of Kherson, which was swept by Russian forces in the opening days of the invasion.

But just as Moscow redirected attention and troops there, Ukraine launched another, highly effective offensive in the northeastern region of Kharkiv.

"These days the Russian army is showing its best - showing its back," said Zelenskyy in the address. "And in the end, it is a good choice for them to run away."

"There is and will be no place for the occupiers in Ukraine."

Since the counteroffensive began, Ukraine said, its forces have reclaimed more than 30 settlements in the Kharkiv region.

In the Kherson region, troops sought to drive Russian forces from their foothold on the west bank of the Dnieper River, a potential vantage point for a push deeper into Ukraine by Moscow.

Credit: PA

The city of Kherson, an economic hub at the confluence of the Dnieper and the Black Sea with a prewar population of about 300,000, was the first major population centre to fall in the war.

However Russian forces also have made inroads into the Zaporizhzhia region farther north, where they seized Europe's largest nuclear power plant. The last of its six reactors was shut down on Sunday.