INTERNATIONAL

said to have removed soldiers from several areas of the Kharkiv region

According to Kyiv, in the northeastern Kharkiv area, where Russian forces have been shelling communities as part of a fresh push along the border, Ukraine has withdrew its soldiers from a number of villages.

During US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s unexpected visit to Ukraine, when President Volodymyr Zelensky pressed him to expedite US arms deliveries, the military disclosed specifics of the retreat.

Last week, Moscow unexpectedly carried out a significant ground offensive in the Kharkiv area in an attempt to break through the fighting as Kyiv struggles to provide enough troops and weapons.

“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 said late on Tuesday.

Both sides have often used the phrase “retreat” to refer to their moves to more “advantageous positions” throughout the two-year conflict.

The two settlements, which are around 30 kilometers (18 miles) apart and near the Russian border, are the focus of the recent attack.

The General Staff of Ukraine said that while the situation “remains difficult,” its soldiers were “not allowing the Russian occupiers to gain a foothold.”

To stop Russia from pushing through, Kyiv has sent forces in a hurry.

“Difficult” combat in the east
According to some military observers, Moscow could be attempting to pressure Ukraine to re-allocate soldiers from other front-line locations, such the area around the vital town of Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region, where Russia has also been making gains.

“The hardest places right now are the Donetsk and Kharkiv regions,” Zelensky said in a speech on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, Kiev lifted some emergency power outages that it had imposed in response to a dip in temperature that was straining its already fragile energy infrastructure.

In response to “the cold weather amid the consequences of Russian shelling” that has devastated swaths of Ukraine’s producing infrastructure, state power provider Ukrenergo has declared a series of nightly and early morning power outages.

“Emergency shutdowns were lifted in the following regions: Odesa, DTEK, the largest private energy operator in the country, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kyiv.”

After months of political haggling, the US Congress ultimately approved a $61 billion financial assistance package for Ukraine, freeing much-needed armaments for the nation’s outgunned military, just weeks before Blinken’s arrival.

The Russian ministry of defense declared at the start of his tour that its forces had taken control of two additional villages in the Kharkiv area. Zelensky requested two additional Patriot air defense systems to protect the border region at a meeting with Blinken.

More than 30,000 Russian soldiers have been stationed in the northeast, according to Ukrainian authorities, although the attack does not pose a danger to Kharkiv, the second-largest city in the nation.

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