More now on reports that Ukraine has forced Russian forces to withdraw from Kharkiv – apparently “winning the battle” for the city, as a respected US think tank describes it.
The latest agency reports lend some credence to the claim, with a spokesman for the Ukrainian General Staff quoted by AFP as saying that in the region, the “enemy’s main efforts are focused on ensuring the withdrawal of its units from the city of Kharkiv”.
Meanwhile, Reuters journalists say the north-eastern city has been quiet for about two weeks.
Moscow is still reported to be bombarding nearby areas, however – including Dergachi, some 10km north of Kharkiv – and late on Friday, reports in the Russian media said Russian forces had hit an arms depot in the region.
Capturing Kharkiv was a key Russian objective, and city was heavily shelled during the invasion, leading to hundreds of civilians being killed. In his latest video address, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine’s forces were doing everything possible to liberate the country.