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Ukraine pulls back in parts of Kharkiv region in face of Russian ground assault

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Ukraine has pulled back troops near several villages in the northeastern Kharkiv region, where Russian forces have been advancing and pounding settlements along the border since last week, Kyiv announced.

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Moscow launched a surprise major ground assault on the region last week as it seeks to advance across the battlefield with Kyiv struggling for arms and manpower.

“In some areas, around Lukyantsi and Vovchansk, in response to enemy fire and assaults from ground troops, and to save the lives of our servicemen and avoid losses, our units manoeuvered and moved to more advantageous positions,” the Ukrainian military announced overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday.

Throughout the two-year year war, both sides have typically used the language of moving to more “advantageous positions” to signify retreats.

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The two villages – around 30 kilometres (18 miles) apart – are close to the border with Russia and have been targeted in the fresh offensive.

Ukraine’s General Staff said the situation “remains difficult” but insisted that its forces were “not allowing the Russian occupiers to gain a foothold”.

Kyiv has rushed reinforcements to the area to prevent Russia from punching through.

Some military analysts say Moscow may be trying to force Ukraine to divert troops from other areas of the front line, such as around the strategic town of Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region, where Russia has also been advancing.

“Donetsk and Kharkiv regions are where it is most difficult now,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address on Tuesday evening.

Kyiv on Wednesday morning cancelled some emergency power blackouts that it had introduced to deal with a drop in temperatures that had put pressure on its battered energy system.

State power operator Ukrenergo had announced a series of overnight and early morning power cuts to deal with “the cold weather amid the consequences of Russian shelling” that has destroyed swathes of Ukraine’s generating facilities.

“Emergency shutdowns in Kyiv, the Kyiv region, the Odesa region, the Donetsk region and the Dnipropetrovsk region were lifted,” DTEK, the country’s largest private energy operator said.

(AFP)

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