Ukraine says has ‘stopped’ Russia in Kharkiv, now pushing back

Kyiv, Ukraine   -   Ukrainian forces have “stopped” Russia from advancing further into the northeastern Kharkiv region and are now counter-attacking, but Moscow is intensifying its assault on other parts of the front, Ukraine’s army said Friday.

Kyiv has been battling a fresh Russian land assault in the Kharkiv region since May 10, when thousands of Moscow’s troops stormed the border, making their biggest territorial advances in 18 months. President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the region’s capital on Friday to discuss the battle for Vovchansk, a town that sits fewer than five kilometres (three miles) from the border. “The Ukrainian Defence Forces have stopped Russian troops in the Kharkiv sector... The situation is under control, counter-offensive actions are underway,” the army said. Despite initial success, “the enemy has got completely bogged down in street battles for Vovchansk and suffered very high losses in assault units”, Ukrainian commander-in-chief Oleksandr Syrsky said on social media.

In an attempt to seize the town, Russia “is currently moving reserves from different sectors to support active assault operations, but to no avail”, Syrsky added. He warned, however, that the situation was turbulent on the eastern front, where Russia says its forces have made a string of gains in the past two weeks.

Fighting near the eastern towns of Chasiv Yar, Pokrovsk and Kurakhove has been particularly “intense”, he said.

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