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Volodymyr Zelensky cancels foreign visits due to Russian offensive

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Volodymyr Zelensky has canceled his upcoming foreign visits as Ukraine’s military leadership works to thwart Russia’s new offensive.

The Ukrainian president “has ordered that all international events concerning him planned in the coming days be postponed and that new dates be coordinated,” his press secretary Serhiy Nykyforov said on Wednesday.

Russia last week opened a new front in the northeastern region of Kharkiv in a bid to strain Ukrainian forces, already struggling due to recruitment problems and delays in aid delivery. American military.

Russian forces have occupied around 110 square kilometers of territory, forcing Ukraine to urgently send reinforcements while repelling a larger offensive in the eastern Donetsk region.

Zelensky’s announcement reflects growing concern in kyiv over the latest Russian attacks. In his speech on Tuesday evening, he said the situation was “difficult”, particularly in Donetsk and Kharkiv, but “under control”.

“Our warriors destroy the occupier who tries to advance. Everything is very tense,” adding that all disputed areas where Russia is carrying out large-scale offensives have been “reinforced.”

While the Russian advance south of the border village of Pylna appears to have slowed, maps released Wednesday by the open-source Ukrainian intelligence group Deepstate show that they have further encroached on Vovchansk and occupied an area west of the city.

Oleksii Kharkivskyi, Vovchansk police chief, said in a video posted on Facebook on Wednesday that police-led evacuations of remaining civilians continued as Russian soldiers took up positions in the city.

The head of Ukrainian military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, raised the possibility of Russia opening an additional front in Sumy. The region, west of Kharkiv, has suffered a sharp increase in shelling over the past week.

Regarding the defense of the Kharkiv region, he said that the reinforcements were stabilizing the front line and that the situation was currently “not catastrophic.”

However, Budanov and other Ukrainian military officials have previously suggested that kyiv does not have the reserves to withstand the latest offensive in the Kharkiv region, due to the need to repel Russian advances in Donetsk.

During a visit to kyiv on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken appeared to express a change in Washington’s view on Ukraine’s use of US weapons in strikes on Russian territory.

Speaking alongside Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Blinken said: “We neither encouraged nor permitted strikes outside Ukraine, but ultimately Ukraine must take responsibility for itself. decisions on how it fights this war. . . and we will continue to support Ukraine with the equipment it needs to win”

The US Congress last month passed a new package including $61 billion in military aid to Ukraine.

The issue of attacks on Russian territory has been a thorn in U.S.-Ukraine relations since Ukraine began regularly attacking infrastructure such as oil depots earlier this year.

News Source : www.ft.com
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