Zelensky says situation in Kharkiv 'extremely difficult' as Russia makes biggest gains in months

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the northeastern city of Kharkiv on Thursday to boost morale and reinforce troops in the region where Russian forces are trying to press their new offensive beyond border areas.

Moscow has made inroads of at least several kilometres into the north of Kharkiv region since Friday, forcing Kyiv's outmanned troops to try to hold the line on a new front as Russia mounts more pressure on the front in the east.

"The direction remains extremely difficult – we are strengthening our units," Zelensky said after holding a meeting in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, with his top commander and senior military leaders.

Later, in his nightly video address, Zelensky said that thanks to the actions of Ukrainian forces "we have achieved more certainty" near Vovchansk, 5 km inside the border. "But the Russian shelling is not stopping, threats persist," he said.

Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Syniehubov, speaking on national television, said Russian forces were still bent on capturing the town.

"While we cannot say that our soldiers have yet stabilised the front line, they have already stopped the active advance of the enemy in Kharkiv region," he said. In some places, he said, Ukrainian troops had regained earlier positions.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify Klymenko's or Bolvinov's accounts.

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