Ukraine pulls troops back from Kharkiv

Ukraine has strategically withdrawn its troops from several villages in the Kharkiv border region following sustained pressure from Russian forces, according to a military spokesperson.

Soldiers faced intense fire and subsequently repositioned to “more advantageous positions” in two areas of the north-eastern region. Throughout the two-year conflict, Ukraine has commonly employed such language to indicate a tactical retreat.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has cancelled all forthcoming foreign trips as Ukrainian forces contend with a new cross-border incursion, which has subjected numerous towns and villages to heavy bombardment.

Sergiy Nykyforov, the president’s press secretary, announced that President Zelensky has “instructed that all international events scheduled for the coming days be postponed and new dates coordinated.”

Moscow claims its forces have now seized control of two more settlements in the region – Lukyantski and Hlyboke – along with the village of Robotyne in the southern Zaporizhzhia region. Ukraine has yet to comment on these assertions.

Robotyne was one of a few settlements Kyiv recaptured during its summer counter-offensive last year.

A spokesman for the Ukrainian military stated that the decision to withdraw troops from the Lukyantsi and Vovchansk areas was made to “preserve the lives of our servicemen and avoid losses.” The capture of Vovchansk, while not of significant military importance, would represent a blow to Ukrainian morale.

The military spokesman added that the situation “remains difficult” but insisted that Ukrainian forces were “not allowing the Russian occupiers to gain a foothold.”

Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s head of intelligence, had earlier reported that troops had stabilised the front line.

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