The grainy video features 12 smiling soldiers Shoot around the yellow and blue markers and thumbs up.

“We’ve done that. We’re here, President,” one of the soldiers in the video told Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

The video shared by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense on Sunday could be evidence of something never thought possible. Russian troops are being driven to the border, if not crossing the border.

In a video posted on the official telegram of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, Ukrainian soldiers appear to be standing across the border with Russia. Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

NBC news could not confirm when and where the video was shot, but Ukrainian officials said they showed territorial defense forces that recently arrived at the border near the bombed city of Kharkiv. U.S. defense officials confirmed on Monday that Ukraine had settled around the city and pushed Russians within miles of the border.

Such progress on the western side of Russia would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago. However, this is the latest in a series of setbacks in Moscow, as Western military aid has flowed into Ukraine and Russian troops are plagued by low morale and logistic challenges, and the war is still President Vladimir Putin’s. It indicates that you are not on the road.

“Everyone, Kharkiv,” Zelensky told the army on his Instagram account shortly after a video of a soldier posing around an apparent boundary marker was released. “I thank you from all Ukrainians …. My gratitude doesn’t know the border.”

NBC News contacted the Russian Defense Ministry on Monday about a video of Ukrainians reaching the border, but did not respond.

This is a big deal. Not only is Kalkif close to Russia, it is also the home of many Russians and Russian-speaking people. Those who have promised to “liberate” Russian leaders from falsely claiming to be Kyiv’s “Nazi” government.

“If Russia is not welcomed even in such areas, it really tells you something … a multi-ethnic who has a far greater attachment to Ukraine as a nation than nostalgic thoughts about the Soviet Union and Russia. “Ukrainian State,” said Stefan Wolff, a professor of international security at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.

Wolff added that a series of stumbling blocks provided a healthy reality for Russian leaders and showed how much the Russian campaign backfired on Putin.

On Tuesday, Russia dominated the strategically important city of Mariupoli after weeks of fierce fighting, a victory that goes against the astonishing Kremlin defeat and disappointment trends during the nearly three-month war. increase.

Alexander Baunov, senior researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, mentioned the first Russian offensive to occupy the capital Kyiv and overthrow the Zelensky administration within a few days: “They lost the blitzkrieg. I noticed. ” ..

After withdrawing from Kyiv, Russia said the new focus of so-called special military operations-which refuses to call it war-is the industrial area of ​​Donbus. The area was already partially dominated by the separatists that Moscow had supported for the past eight years. But even there, despite the first small advances, it was not possible to acquire substantial territory.

Residents check the remains of a Russian helicopter destroyed in the village of Malaya Rohan on Monday.
Residents check the remains of a Russian helicopter destroyed in the village of Malaya Rohan on Monday.Bernat Armangue / AP

Phillips O’Brien, a professor of strategic research at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, said: “The big picture of Russia is that they have to protect a very large area of ​​the territory that was seized, but there may not be soldiers to do that.”

Still, Russian military leaders are modifying their tactics and should not be underestimated, Wolff said.

“Russian troops are now more systematic in their approach and are trying to overwhelm Ukrainian troops in certain areas,” he said. “This does not mean that we have reduced the overall plan, but the ordering and priorities can be different.”

After all, Ukraine is looking at what is likely to be a protracted, fierce, bloody battle in Donbus, he said. Ukrainian troops confirmed on Monday that Russia continued to make progress in some parts of the region.

Now that everything is thrown into Donbus, it will be difficult to hide any retreat there.

“Donbus is everything. That’s the last goal you can’t cancel,” Baunov said. “The rest can be moved aside or forgotten, but this is not the case.”

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