Zelenskiy Gathers Commanders in Kharkiv Amid Russian Offensive

(Bloomberg) -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met with key commanders in the northeastern city of Kharkiv as his military fights to prevent Kremlin troops from occupying new territory in the region.

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Ukraine started reinforcing the area around the country’s second-biggest city after Russian forces began crossing the border last week, taking control of some villages and stretching Ukraine’s positions along the frontline.

“The situation in Kharkiv region is generally under control and our soldiers are inflicting significant losses on the occupier,” Zelenskiy said on Telegram after meeting with Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi and other officials. “But the direction remains extremely difficult and we are bolstering our units.”

Read more: US Says Rushing Weapons to Ukraine Amid Fighting in Kharkiv

Russian units are preventing locals from evacuating and are taking them captive amid efforts to get a foothold in the northern part of the embattled town of Vovchansk, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said on Telegram. At least one case of Russian forces executing a civilian has been reported in the town, he said.

The Ukrainian General Staff said earlier on Thursday that “decisive actions” by Kyiv’s units had forced Russian troops to significantly reduce their activity in the area.

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