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Ukraine says Russian troops are withdrawing from Kharkiv: NPR

This handout photo provided by Ukraine’s armed forces on Thursday is said to show a destroyed pontoon crossing with dozens of wrecked or damaged Russian armored vehicles on both banks of the Siverskyi Donets River after their pontoon bridges were blown up in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine’s armed forces via the AP


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Ukraine’s armed forces via the AP

This handout photo provided by Ukraine’s armed forces on Thursday is said to show a destroyed pontoon crossing with dozens of wrecked or damaged Russian armored vehicles on both banks of the Siverskyi Donets River after their pontoon bridges were blown up in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine’s armed forces via the AP

KYIV, Ukraine – Russian troops are withdrawing from Ukraine’s second-largest city after weeks of heavy bombing, the Ukrainian military said on Saturday as Kyiv and Moscow forces engaged in a fierce battle for the country’s eastern industrial heartland.

Ukraine’s General Staff said the Russians withdrew from the northeastern city of Kharkiv, focusing on guarding supply routes while launching mortars, artillery and airstrikes in eastern Donetsk province to “deplete Ukrainian forces and destroy fortifications.”

Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Ukraine “entered a new – long-term – phase of the war.”

When the country’s top prosecutor charged a Russian soldier with war crimes, the first of dozens to be charged, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Ukrainians were doing their “maximum” to drive out the attackers and that the outcome of the war would depend on European support. and other allies.

“No one today can predict how long this war will last,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video speech late Friday.

Russia’s offensive in the Donbas, a mining and industrial region that Moscow-backed separatists have controlled in part since 2014, appeared to be a back-and-forth battle with no major breakthroughs on either side.

After failing to conquer Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, the Russian military decided to concentrate on the Donbas, but its troops have struggled to win and hold on. Before the war, Ukraine had its best-trained soldiers in the region to ward off the Russia-backed rebels.

Russia has conquered some villages and towns during its invasion. The Ukrainian military chief of Donbas’ Luhansk province said on Friday that Russian troops had almost full control of Rubizhne, a city with a pre-war population of about 55,000.

Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s forces had also made progress, capturing six Ukrainian towns or villages within the past 24 hours.

Western officials said Ukraine had driven Russian forces back around Kharkiv. The largely Russian-speaking city was a key Russian military target in the early stages of the war, as Moscow still hoped to conquer and hold major Ukrainian cities.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, said Ukraine “seems to have won the battle of Kharkiv.” It said, “Ukrainian forces prevented Russian troops from encircling, let alone capturing Kharkiv, and then expelled them from all over the city.”

Regional Governor Oleh Sinegubov said in a post on the Telegram messaging app that there had been no shelling attack on Kharkiv in the past 24 hours.

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

The fighting was fierce on the Siversky Donets River near the town of Severodonetsk, where Ukraine has launched counterattacks but failed to halt Russia’s advance, said Oleh 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.

A police officer from a special task force inspects a site after an air strike by Russian forces in Lysychansk, Luhansk region, Ukraine, on Friday.

Leo Correa / AP


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Leo Correa / AP

A police officer from a special task force inspects a site after an air strike by Russian forces in Lysychansk, Luhansk region, Ukraine, on Friday.

Leo Correa / AP

Russian forces, however, 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 city of Bilohorivka, Ukrainian and British officials said in another sign of Moscow’s fight to save a war that has gone awry.

Ukraine’s airborne command released photos and video of what it said was a damaged Russian pontoon bridge over the Siversky Donets River and at least 73 destroyed or damaged Russian military vehicles nearby.

The British Ministry of Defense said Russia lost “significant armored maneuvers” from at least one battalion tactical group in the attack. A tactical group of a Russian battalion consists of about 1,000 troops. It said the risky river crossing was a sign of “the pressure Russian leaders are under to advance their operations in eastern Ukraine.”

Zelenskyy said in his nightly video speech to the nation that the Ukrainians did everything they could to drive the Russians out, but “no one today can predict how long this war will last.”

“Unfortunately, this will not only depend on our people, who are already giving their maximum,” he said. “This will depend on our partners, on European countries, on the whole free world.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin undertook the war in Ukraine with the aim of thwarting NATO’s expansion in Eastern Europe. But the invasion of Ukraine has other countries along Russia’s flank worried that they may become the next.

This week, the President and Prime Minister of Finland announced that they want the Nordic nation to apply for NATO membership. Officials in Sweden could follow within a few days. The Nordic nations’ potential offer to join the Western military alliance was called into question when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is “not of a positive attitude” to the idea.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to meet with NATO colleagues, including Turkish Foreign Minister, this weekend in Germany.

In the ruined southern port of Mariupol, Ukrainian warriors stood in a steelworks facing continued Russian attacks on the city’s last stronghold of resistance. Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of Ukraine’s Azov regiment, said his troops would persevere “as long as they can” despite the lack of ammunition, food, water and medicine.

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told the country’s news media Suspilne on Saturday that the Ukrainian authorities are negotiating the evacuation of 60 severely wounded troops from the steelworks. She said Russia had not agreed to the evacuation of all wounded fighters at the facility, which numbers in the hundreds.

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

In Kiev, Ukrainian soldiers dressed in white protective suits loaded the bodies of Russian soldiers on refrigerated trains. The bodies were wrapped in white body bags and stacked several layers deep.

Colonel Volodymyr Lyamzin, who oversaw the operation, said hundreds of bodies were stored on trains in the capital and in several other storage trains elsewhere. He said Ukraine was ready to hand over the bodies to Russia, but so far there was no agreement to do so.

Journalists filled a small courtroom in Kiev on Friday 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 that Ukraine’s top prosecutor said her office is pursuing.

Shyshimarin could face life in prison if convicted of shooting a 62-year-old Ukrainian man in the head through an open car window in a village in the northeastern Sumy region on Feb. 28, four days inside the invasion.

Shyshimarin, a member of a tank unit captured by Ukrainian forces, admitted that he shot the civilian in a video broadcast by the Ukrainian security service and said he was ordered to do so.

The trial, which resumes on Wednesday, will be closely monitored by international observers to ensure it is fair.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said she was preparing war crimes cases against 41 Russian soldiers for offenses, including bombing of civilian infrastructure, killing civilians, rape and looting.

Ukraine says Russian troops are withdrawing from Kharkiv: NPR

Source link Ukraine says Russian troops are withdrawing from Kharkiv: NPR

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