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Ukraine says it ‘stopped’ Russia in Kharkiv and is now pushing back

Kiev, Ukraine – Ukrainian forces have “stopped” Russia from advancing further into the northeastern Kharkiv region and are now launching a counterattack, but Moscow is stepping up its attack on other parts of the front, the Ukrainian military said Friday.

Kiev has been grappling with another Russian land attack in the Kharkiv region since May 10, when thousands of Moscow troops stormed the border, making their biggest territorial advance in 18 months. President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the region’s capital on Friday to discuss the battle for Vovchansk, a city less than five kilometers from the border. “The Ukrainian army has stopped Russian troops in the Kharkov sector… The situation is under control, counter-offensive actions are underway,” the army said. Despite initial success, “the enemy is completely bogged down in street fighting around Vovchansk and has suffered very high losses in assault units,” Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrsky said on social media.

In an attempt to take the city, Russia is “currently shifting reserves from various sectors to support active offensive operations, but to no avail,” Syrsky added. However, he warned that the situation was turbulent on the eastern front, where Russia says its forces have made a series of gains in the past two weeks.

Fighting near the eastern cities of Khasiv Yar, Pokrovsk and Kurakhove has been particularly “fierce,” he said.