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The front lines of the defense battle in northern Ukraine are under pressure

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Ukrainian troops said on Thursday they were slowing the pace of Russia’s offensive in the country’s northeast, even as they worked to contain new Russian offensives at several other points along the front line as Moscow sought to expand Kiev forces’ efforts to breach their defenses.

Ukrainian military Wednesday night report Russian troops have repelled four ground offensives in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, and Russian troops surged across the border last week, quickly seizing more than a dozen villages and about 50 square miles of territory.

“During the day, our Ukrainian defense and security forces – all relevant units – have succeeded in partially stabilizing the situation,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address on Wednesday night. “Our Ukrainian defense and security forces – all relevant units – have succeeded in partially stabilizing the situation.” Attention remains focused on the front lines, in all theaters of operations.”

Ukrainian civilians who evacuated on Thursday said Russian troops had been fighting in small groups moving through the forest into villages. They appeared unexpectedly on the streets of the town of Wovchansk, a village a dozen miles east of the city of Kharkov and now a battleground between the two armies.

Oleksiy Kharkivskiy, a police officer who evacuated civilians, said that the northern area of ​​Vovchansk is currently within the attack range of Russian tanks but is not completely controlled by Russian troops. The situation was the same days ago, indicating that the fighting was in and around the village, despite frequent artillery fire.

Still, more Russian attacks were reported elsewhere, including east of the Kharkiv region and south of the Donetsk and Zaporozhye regions. “We clearly see how the occupiers are trying to distract our troops and make our combat work less focused,” Zelensky said.

In particular, Russian forces appear to have launched a new attack on the southern village of Roboteny, one of the few places Ukraine managed to recapture in a largely failed counteroffensive last summer.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Russian troops had taken full control of Roboyne on Wednesday. Ukrainian officials say this is not true, and pro-Kremlin military bloggers deny it, saying Russian forces only control parts of Roboyne.

“Russian information forces regularly organize such provocations,” said Dmytro Pletenchuk, spokesman for Ukraine’s Southern Defense Forces. “To do this, they organize performances in war zones and fly Russian flags. In the suburbs, for example, they usually die afterwards.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s efforts to seize more territory in the East Donetsk region, one of the two regions that make up the Donbas, continues unabated. Fierce fighting is taking place around the town of Chasiv Yar, about six miles west of Bahmut, and northwest of the town of Avdiivka, which Russia captured in February.

“In my opinion, Chasiv Yar is twice as harsh as Kupiansk, and Kupiansk is twice as harsh as the northern border,” said Pavlo, a soldier fighting in Donbass who, under military agreement, is declined to give his last name.

“The operations in Kharkiv look very similar to what happened earlier in the village of Ocheretin,” he said, referring to a village northwest of Avdiivka that Russia captured in late April. village. “They attacked several places and whenever they found a hole in the defense, they moved in.”

Following the attacks in the northern region of Kharkiv, there is speculation that similar incidents may occur in the Sumy region further to the northwest, close to the Russian border. The area came under shelling overnight, with Sumui regional military authorities reporting 183 explosions along the border.

Andrew E. Kramer and Evelina Ryabenko contributed reporting from Kharkov, and Constant Mecht From Kyiv.

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