The Third Battle of Kharkov was a series of battles on the Eastern Front undertaken by the German Army Group South against the Red Army, between 19 February and 15 March 1943. The German counter strike led to the recapture of the cities of Kharkov and Belgorod.
On 22 February 1943, Zaytsev was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. He returned to the front and finished the war at the Battle of the Seelow Heights in Germany, with the military rank of captain. He became a member of the Communist Party in 1943.