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Ukrainian troops appear to have forced Russian withdrawal from Kharkiv and are launching counter-attacks near the northeastern city aimed at disrupting supply lines, making it difficult for Moscow to encircle Kiev forces and occupy the entire Donbass region, analysts and local officials say. In the south-east, both sides are effectively at a standstill.
Donbass region of Ukraine
Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine, collectively known as Donbass, has long been a flashpoint in the conflict between the two countries. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly called for Donbass’s idea of a separate regional identity as the basis for “protecting” his Russian-speaking people inside Ukraine.
Before Russia launched its latest aggression in February, parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions were ruled by separatists loyal to Moscow. Since then, U.S. officials say, Russian forces in Donbass have not made much military progress; An official described the progress as “anemic.” Read more
Ukrainians fled to neighboring countries
The UN refugee agency says about 6 million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries due to the war across the country. According to border police authorities, most Ukrainians are fleeing to Poland.
Men between the ages of 18 and 60 have been banned from leaving the country following calls from President Volodymyr Zelensky to take up arms and defend the country against Russian invaders.
According to a video address from Zelensky, after weeks of trying to evacuate, more than 125,000 Ukrainian civilians have been able to use the humanitarian corridor to leave the bombed cities.
Russia had earlier offered a route to Russia or Belarus, which Ukraine rejected. Ukrainian officials have accused Russian troops of repeatedly trying to reach the besieged city of Mariupol with food and medicine convoys.
Dylan Moriarty, Arthur Galocha, Joe Fox, Harry Stevens, Hannah Dormido, Loris Kirklis, Lauren Tierney, Tim Meco, Simon Ducrot, Julia Ledur, Adrian Blanco and Ann Kirkpatrick contributed to this report.