Ukraine outnumbered Russia eight-fold in Kharkiv, Russian official says

People carrying their belongings walk in front of a destroyed building in Izyum, Kharkiv Region, on September 11.
People carrying their belongings walk in front of a destroyed building in Izyum, Kharkiv Region, on September 11. (Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian officials have begun addressing the daunting demands of reconstruction in recently liberated areas, with winter just a couple of months away.

After recapturing the city of Izium over the weekend, Ukrainian forces are taking steps to stabilize the situation there, according to Maksym Strelnikov, a member of the city council.

Residents who fled want to return home, Strelnikov said at a a briefing Monday, but added that “more than 80% of the city infrastructure is destroyed, including multi-storey buildings and private houses, enterprises, government institutions and educational institutions, as well as [industrial] plants.”
“The central heating system, which was used by majority of residents in winter, is damaged. So these would be the challenges to overcome for the local authorities,” Strelnikov said.

He also talked about the privations suffered by civilians during the occupation.

“As of now, we know at least 1,000 civilians [in Izium] have died due to hostilities. But we think even more people were affected due to lack of medical care, as the Russian occupiers have destroyed all the health care institutions in March. The occupiers have looted all the pharmacies, so there was no access to medication. This is the most urgent issue for now, along with hospitalization of Izium residents, who require urgent medical care,” he added.

Strelnikov said there were about 10,000 civilians left in the city, after a recent evacuation of women and children.

“Most Izium residents are waiting to come back home, but as of now the situation with critical infrastructure is a serious challenge … We hope that we will be able to do everything possible to be prepared for winter,” he noted.

Some background: Although Izium is under Ukrainian control, the war is not far away. There is fighting about 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) to the east around Lyman. The official Telegram channel of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic reported Monday that the town “is under full control of the troops of the People’s Militia of the DNR, LNR and the RF. It is relatively calm.”

It said that Ukrainian forces “do not give up attempts to attack nearby territories,” but such attempts “have been repelled. The enemy retreated with loses. “