Ukrainians hug and thank the soldiers for recapturing their city from Russian troops

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Striking footage shows Ukrainians crying as they hug soldiers who are liberating them from Russian occupation.

Ukraine’s military has spent the past few days quietly unleashing an impressive counteroffensive against Vladimir Putin’s settlements in the south and east of the country.

A video shows a group of women visibly emotional after spending the past six months under Russian control in Balaklia, near Kharkiv.

Civilians were brought to tears as they hugged Ukrainian soldiers and kissed their faces.

One said: “Well done guys, thank God!”

Another said: “We have been praying for the last six months to see you again, we have been desperate – my children and grandchildren too.

“We have some pancakes left, would you like to try them?”

The soldiers said they would take up the offer of pancakes later.

The town of Balaklia has been under Russian occupation for six months (Photo: Reuters)

Officials of the State Security Service of Ukraine ride on an armored vehicle in the recently liberated city of Izium, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the Kharkiv region.
Ukraine conducts a successful counter-offensive in the Kharkiv region (Photo: Reuters)

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But they also warned the group to “remain in the basement for the time being as there may still be shelling.”

This is just one of several clips showing such poignant scenes in Balaklia and Izyum, a key military stronghold.

Another video shows a man leaving a pot of food on top of a Russian tank captured by Ukrainian soldiers.

The soldiers were then handed a bouquet of flowers by a woman who told them: “We gave you a hot breakfast.”

Russia’s defense ministry initially denied any Ukrainian success, with Russian state television reporting that its forces had repelled the offensive.

But Moscow confirmed on Saturday that its troops had withdrawn from Izyum and Balaklim, saying its fighters had decided to “regroup” in Donetsk, which is believed to have been a pre-planned move.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday confirmed that his forces had “liberated and taken control of more than 30 settlements” in Kharkiv.

“We are bringing back the Ukrainian flag and protection for our people everywhere,” he said.

In the past week, Ukraine has reclaimed at least 2,500 square kilometers of once pro-Kremlin Kharkiv, according to the US think tank the Institute for the Study of War.

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