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Russian troops further seize villages in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv

Russia asserted that it had seized control of five villages in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region in a surprise ground offensive, triggering mass evacuations. President Volodymyr Zelensky urgently appealed for military aid in response.

According to Moscow’s Defense Ministry, its troops have “liberated” five villages near the Russian border in the Kharkiv region: Borysivka, Ohirtseve, Pletenivka, Pylna, and Strilecha, in addition to capturing one village in the Donetsk region.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry reported on Friday that Russia had launched a surprise attack on the Kharkiv region, making small advances into a border zone where it had been pushed back nearly two years ago. Ukraine’s military command later confirmed that Russian ground troops were supported by air strikes.

In his address on Saturday night, Zelensky stated that Ukrainian forces were conducting counterattacks in border villages in the Kharkiv region, emphasizing that disrupting Russian offensive plans was their top priority.

Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Syniehubov stated earlier on Saturday that there had been “heavy fighting” in the border area, resulting in the evacuation of 1,775 people. Syniehubov later added that two men aged 50 and 48 were killed and two others wounded by guided aerial bomb attacks on the town of Vovchansk near the border. He shared videos showing damage to buildings and fires in Vovchansk.

Despite the situation, the governor assured that there was “no threat of a ground operation” for Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

Groups of people fleeing the border area were seen arriving at a reception center for evacuees near Kharkiv, where they received food, medical assistance, and shelter. Many of the evacuees, including elderly individuals like 61-year-old Lyubov Nikolaieva, described the unbearable conditions in their villages, such as constant incoming fire and lack of basic amenities like gas and electricity.

Dmytro Tkachenko, an aid worker assisting with evacuations, highlighted the dangerous situation in areas like Vovchansk and Lyptsi, where troop movements were complicating evacuation efforts.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.


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