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Ukraine war briefing: Zelenskiy says Kyiv’s forces have taken control of Kharkiv border area

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Ukraine war briefing from the Guardian
  • The Ukrainian president said Ukrainian forces had secured “combat control” of areas where Russian troops staged an incursion this month in northern parts of Kharkiv region. “Our soldiers have now managed to take combat control of the border area where the Russian occupiers entered,” Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address on Friday, after meeting with military and regional officials in Kharkiv city.

  • Zelenskiy’s comments appeared to be at odds with comments by Russian officials. Viktor Vodolatskiy, a member of Russia’s lower house of parliament, said Russian forces controlled more than half the territory of the town of Vovchansk, 5km (three miles) inside the border. Tass news agency also quoted Vodolatskiy as saying that once Vovchansk was secured, Russian forces would target three cities in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region – Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Pokrovsk.

  • Ukraine’s army said its forces had “stopped” Russia from advancing further into the Kharkiv region and were now counterattacking, but Moscow was intensifying its assault on other parts of the front. It was not possible to verify the battlefield accounts of each side. Kyiv has been fighting a fresh Russian land assault in the Kharkiv region since 10 May, when thousands of Moscow’s troops stormed the border, making their biggest territorial advances in 18 months.

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