Report of the USCC team from the de-occupied territories of Kharkiv Oblast.

An expert of USCC in Kharkiv Oblast near a russian rocket

“If you remove the asymmetric advantage of the russians in artillery, they will not only stop fighting, they will run”, – said Serhii Kuzan in his comment for Financial Times

The results of the counterattack in the Kharkiv region clearly showed this. 

Weapons are the only advantage that russia has now. Only this factor allows russia to terrorize the democratic world and continue the war against Ukraine. We need more weapons to proceed with our counterattack and make our victory closer. The faster we get weapons, the bigger numbers of tragedies we will avoid. Ukraine needs weapons today, to avoid the second Izum for tomorrow. 

Members of the Ukrainian Security and Cooperation Center visited de-occupied territories in the Kharkiv region and talked with Ukrainian militaries, who liberated these territories, and civilians, who lived under russian occupation.

The first destination point was near Izum, photos from which shocked the whole world and once again proved that russia uses terror against the local population.

During the counterattack, the Armed Forces of Ukraine on September 10, 2022, by the fighters of the 5th Slobozhan Brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine assault unit liberated Zabavne village on the outskirts of Izyum.

“After the high-precision strikes by Ukrainian artillery with heavy weapons provided by the Western allies, our division conducted cleaning operations in Balakliya, and then entered Zabavny with battles and entrenched there. russian militaries and militaries from the so-called DNR  were based in this village. The counterattack of Ukrainian forces was unexpected for the enemy, so they could not retreat in an organized manner and, in fact, just ran away. All that the occupiers managed to do during the retreat was to lay landmines, which mainly affected civilians, and in particular, children. Our sappers demine the territories now.” – told the soldier of National Guard of Ukraine Volodymyr Tsah.

During the retreat, russians left their weapons and military equipment, personal stuff, uniform, and even personal documents, which proves the haste of withdrawal from positions.

The situation is even more eloquent in Izum. On the city streets, there is plenty of destroyed military equipment of the russian army, among which the pride of the russian military industry is the “Solntsepyok” heavy flamethrower system. During the assault, the russians purposefully destroyed the city’s critical infrastructure, so many buildings cannot be restored. Ukrainian rescue services are dismantling the debris and trying to restore the supply of water, electricity and gas.

Hotel “Mars” destroyed building in the center of Izum and russian “Solntsepyok” heavy flamethrower system, destroyed by Ukrainian defence forces on the streets of Izum.

russian occupation has brought the residents to a humanitarian disaster, which is why cargoes with food, medicine, and hygiene products are constantly being delivered to different areas of the city.

Militaries of the division J9 of “Kraken” of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine  give food and medicine to the residents of Izum. 

“During the whole period of occupation russians looted the homes of the residents of Izyum, and then tried to sell the looted goods on spontaneous markets. Imprisonment and execution were threatened for resistance to the occupiers, and violation of the curfew.” – this tells  32-years old resident of Izum Oleksandr, who survived the russian capture.

I was captured because I agreed to enter the Territorial Defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, before russians took over the city. Unfortunately, due to the rapid offensive of the russian army, I did not have time to get a weapon. After interrogations and tortures from the FSB officers, I was taken to be shot, but at the last moment they shot past me and later released me” – said Oleksandr. 

The man also said that 3 days before the liberation of the city, the occupants imposed a 24-hour curfew to hide their escape, and finally threatened to “return in 2-3 months”. They also spread fakes about future repressions by soldiers of the Defense Forces of Ukraine.


The consequences of almost 7-months of “Russian world”, which we have seen in the liberated cities and villages in the Kharkiv region, clearly show that russia  does not respect any norms of humanitarian law, and the occupiers are making a real terror for the civilians.  Intimidation, bullying, torture, hunger – this is the reality of the Russian “liberation” for the residents of the temporarily occupied territories. 

Announcement of the referendums and forced passportization under threats are the enemy’s attempts to correct his failures at the front and find an excuse for another nuclear blackmail. The announcement of mobilization also shows the kremlin’s desperation. That is why it is especially important for now to support Ukraine with the necessary weapons to speed up the liberation of the occupied territories and save Ukrainians there from the russian terror.

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