Ukraine has ‘combat control’ of parts of Kharkiv region Russia has targeted, Zelenskyy says


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday that his country’s armed 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,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.

Zelenskyy’s comments, after holding a meeting of military and regional officials in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, appeared to be at variance with comments by Russian officials.

The Ukrainian leader had travelled Friday to the city of Kharkiv, the regional capital, where he visited the site of a major printing house a day after it was destroyed in a Russian missile attack that killed at least seven people.

His visit also came hours after a nighttime Russian attack that officials say destroyed trains and tracks in the region and also some buildings.

The stepped-up attacks on Kharkiv region began May 10 and have since prompted authorities to relocate more than 11,000 people, according to regional Gov. Oleh Syniehubov.

Russia says it wants to set up a “buffer” zone in the region in what it calls a response to Kyiv’s shelling of Russian border regions such as Belgorod. Russia frequently launches air strikes on Ukraine from the region of Belgorod.

The assault opened a new front in the war in what Kyiv said was an effort to divert its outnumbered troops from the east where the fiercest fighting is taking place.

Russia crossed into Ukraine, launching its all-out offensive against its neighbour, in February 2022. More than two years on, the conflict appears to have no end in sight.

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