The Russians are withdrawing from the city of Kharkov to the east

Kyiv “Russian troops are withdrawing from Ukraine’s second-largest city after weeks of heavy bombing,” the Ukrainian army said on Saturday as forces between Kyiv and Moscow fought a tough battle for the country’s eastern industrial center.

Ukraine’s General Staff has said the Russians are withdrawing from the northeastern city of Kharkiv and focusing on guarding supply routes, while mortar, artillery and air strikes in the eastern Donetsk region to “exhaust Ukrainian forces and destroy fortifications.”

Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov said Ukraine was “entering a new – long-term – phase of the war”.

As the country’s chief prosecutor brought to justice a Russian war crimes soldier, the first of dozens to be indicted, President Vladimir Zelensky said Ukrainians were doing “maximum” to drive out the invaders and that the outcome of the war would depend on support. from Europe and other allies.


“No one can predict today how long this war will last,” Zelenski said in an evening video address late Friday.

Russia’s offensive in Donbass, a mining and industrial region that Moscow-backed separatists have partially controlled since 2014, appears to be moving back and forth without major breakthroughs on either side.

After failing to capture Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, the Russian army decided to focus on Donbass, but its troops struggled to gain and hold positions. Before the war, Ukraine had its best-trained troops in the region to repel Russian-backed rebels.

Russia captured some villages and towns during its invasion. Ukraine’s military chief for Luhansk province in Donbass said on Friday that Russian troops have almost complete control over Rubezhnoye, a city of about 55,000 before the war.

Zelensky said Ukrainian forces had also made progress, recapturing six Ukrainian towns or villages in the last day.


Western officials said Ukraine had pushed Russian forces back around Kharkiv. To a large extent, the Russian-speaking city was Russia’s key military target in the early stages of the war, when Moscow was still hoping to take over and retain large Ukrainian cities.

The Institute for War Studies, a Washington-based think tank, said Ukraine “seems to have won the battle of Kharkov.” It said: “Ukrainian forces prevented the encirclement of Russian troops, not to mention the capture of Kharkov, and then drove them out of the city.

District Governor Oleh Sinegubov said in a post in the Telegram news app that there had been no shelling against Kharkiv in the past day.

He said Ukraine had launched a counter-offensive near Izyum, a city 125km (78 miles) south of Kharkiv, which has been under effective Russian control since at least early April.

Fighting was fierce on the Seversky Donets River near the city of Severodonetsk, where Ukraine launched a counterattack but failed to stop Russia’s offensive, said Oleg Zhdanov, an independent Ukrainian military analyst.


“The fate of a large part of the Ukrainian army is being decided – there are about 40,000 Ukrainian soldiers,” he said.

However, Russian forces suffered heavy losses in a Ukrainian attack that destroyed a pontoon bridge they used to try to cross the same river – the largest in eastern Ukraine – in the town of Bilokhorivka, Ukrainian and British officials said, in another sign. Moscow is fighting to save a confused war.

Ukraine’s air command has released photos and videos of what it says is a damaged Russian pontoon bridge over the Seversky Donets River and at least 73 destroyed or damaged Russian military vehicles nearby.

The British Ministry of Defense said that Russia had lost “significant armored maneuvering elements” from at least one battalion tactical group in the attack. The tactical group of the Russian battalion consists of about 1,000 soldiers. According to him, the risky crossing of the river is a sign of “pressure from Russian commanders to make progress in their operations in eastern Ukraine.”


Zelensky said in his evening video address to the nation that the Ukrainians were doing everything possible to drive out the Russians, but “no one today can predict how long this war will last.”

“It will depend, unfortunately, not only on our people, who are already giving their best,” he said. “It will depend on our partners, on European countries, on the whole free world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has waged war in Ukraine to thwart NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe. But the invasion of Ukraine has led other countries on Russia’s flank to worry that they may be next.

This week, the President and Prime Minister of Finland announced that they want the Scandinavian nation to strive for NATO membership. Officials in Sweden can follow suit for days. Potential Scandinavian bids for joining the Western military alliance were called into question when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country was “not in a good opinion” of the idea.


US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is scheduled to meet with NATO counterparts, including Turkey’s foreign minister, this weekend in Germany.

In the ruined southern port of Mariupol, Ukrainian fighters hiding in a steel factory faced ongoing Russian attacks on the city’s last stronghold of resistance. Svyatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment, said his troops would survive “as long as they can” despite a shortage of ammunition, food, water and medicine.

Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk told Suspilne on Saturday that Ukrainian authorities were negotiating the evacuation of 60 severely wounded soldiers from the steel plant. She said Russia had not agreed to the evacuation of all hundreds of wounded fighters at the plant.

An aide to the mayor of Mariupol said between 150,000 and 170,000 civilians remained in the city, which had a pre-war population of more than 400,000. In a Telegram post, Petro Andryushchenko said residents were “hostages” by Russian occupation forces, “with almost no chance of fleeing to Ukraine.”


In Kyiv, Ukrainian soldiers dressed in white protective suits loaded the bodies of Russian soldiers in refrigerated wagons. The bodies were wrapped in white corpse bags and stacked several layers deep.

Colonel Vladimir Lyamzin, who led the operation, said several hundred bodies were stored on trains in the capital and on several other trains for storage elsewhere. He said Ukraine was ready to hand over the bodies to Russia, but there was no agreement so far.

Journalists crowded a small courtroom in Kyiv on Friday over the trial of a captured Russian soldier accused of killing a Ukrainian civilian in the early days of the war – the first of dozens of war crimes cases the Ukrainian chief prosecutor says his service is prosecuting.

Shishimarin could face up to life in prison if convicted of shooting a 62-year-old Ukrainian in the head through an open car window in a village in the northeastern Sumy region on February 28, four days after the invasion.


Shishimarin, a member of a tank unit captured by Ukrainian forces, admitted to shooting the civilian in a video released by Ukraine’s Security Service, saying he had been ordered to do so.

The process, which resumes on Wednesday, will be closely monitored by international observers to ensure its fairness.

Ukraine’s chief prosecutor, Irina Venediktov, said she was preparing war crimes cases against 41 Russian soldiers for crimes, including bombing of civilian infrastructure, killing civilians, rape and robbery.


Jesica Fish in Bakhmut, Juras Karmanau in Lviv, Mstislav Chernov in Kharkiv, Elena Bekatoros in Odessa, Jill Lawless in London and other AP officials around the world contributed to this report.


Follow the AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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The Russians are withdrawing from the city of Kharkov to the east

Source link The Russians are withdrawing from the city of Kharkov to the east

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