Ukraine bolsters its counteroffensive in Kharkiv and forces Russian forces back | International

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Ukrainian troops continue to counterattack north of Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, where they have pushed back Russian forces and regained control of several towns and villages that Vladimir Putin’s Army occupied at the beginning of the invasion and used as a launcher to attack the city. However, the battle is heating up further south, in Donbas, where the Kremlin is relocating withdrawn troops; That region of eastern Ukraine focuses the focus on the second phase of the Russian invasion.

In Kharkov, in the east of the country, the Ukrainian Army has pushed the Kremlin troops some 30 kilometers towards the Russian border. But the Ukrainian authorities warn that after the sum of setbacks – such as the failure of its offensive in kyiv and the loss of occupied ground in the capital’s belt – Moscow is tightening the offensive in Donbas and redirecting its forces there. In recent days, the attacks, supported from the air by planes and drones, have been relentless in parts of Donetsk and Lugansk provinces.

The cities of Lisichansk and Severodonetsk, both in Lugansk, are almost surrounded. When Russian troops make gains in that province, military analysts believe the Kremlin will reinforce positions in Izium, a town about two hours southeast of Kharkov, which it captured in April, and which has become a logistics and operations center. substantial in the eastern region. Although for now Russia has failed in its intentions in the Ukrainian invasion, it has managed to expand the controlled areas of Donbas: it has captured most of Kherson, 70% of the Zaporizhia province and holds some parts of the Kharkov region.

All in all, the war, which is about to be three months old, has become a conflict of attrition. Meanwhile, Ukraine multiplies calls to claim more Western weapons to confront Russia and its allies – such as the EU and the United States – approve new economic aid packages. The soldiers who remain at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, under siege by Russian troops in a city already taken by Moscow in the absence of the steel mill, are in an increasingly critical situation, according to their families and the Ukrainian government.

Volodímir Zelenski’s Executive is now negotiating with Russia the evacuation of the soldiers trapped in that plant, with the mediation of Turkey and the help of the Red Cross and the United Nations, which have mediated to bring to fruition the humanitarian corridors that took civilians from Azovstal to the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhia.

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Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk reported this Friday that negotiations are under way to try to remove 38 seriously wounded soldiers. They could be exchanged for Russian prisoners of war. For its part, the Kremlin has avoided talk of an exchange, reiterating that the soldiers can leave if they hand over their weapons. For the moment, Russia has not respected the ceasefire agreements for the area.

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