Putin’s troops ‘withdrawing from Kharkiv’ amid grinding battle for Ukraine’s east

Russian troops are withdrawing from around Ukraine’s second-largest city after bombarding it for weeks, the Ukrainian military said as Kyiv and Moscow’s forces engaged in a grinding battle for the country’s eastern industrial heartland.Ukraine’s general staff said the Russians were pulling back from around the north-eastern city of Kharkiv and focusing on guarding supply routes, while launching mortar, artillery and air strikes in the eastern Donetsk province in order to “deplete Ukrainian forces and destroy fortifications”.Defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Saturday that Ukraine was “entering a new - long-term - phase of the war”.President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainians were doing their “maximum” to drive out the invaders and that the outcome of the war would depend on support from Europe and other allies.

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