Zelenskyy postpones foreign trips as Russia advances in Kharkiv

KYIV: Prez Volodymyr Zelenskyy postponed all his foreign trips as the battlefield situation continued to deteriorate on Wednesday and Kyiv said fighting raged in the northeastern border town of Vovchansk in Kharkiv region.
Zelenskyy had been expected to visit Spain, and perhaps Portugal, later this week.
The capture of the town, 5 km from the border, would be Russia‘s most significant gain since it launched an incursion into the region on Friday, opening a new front in its invasion and forcing Kyiv to rush in reinforcements.The assault keeps Ukraine’s forces, also holding the 1,000 km frontline in east and south, off balance ahead of what Zelenskyy has said could be a big Russian offensive in the coming weeks. Moscow has been slowly making ground in the east for months.
Russia’s defence ministry said on Wednesday its forces captured two more settlements in the region, bringing the total count to 12 since Friday. The latest were Hlyboke and Lukyantsi, it said, both about 25 km from Kharkiv’s outskirts. Ukraine said late on Tuesday it pulled back to new positions in the Vovchansk and Lukyantsi areas due to “a consequence of enemy fire and storming action”. Police remained in Vovchansk and were continuing to evacuate people. Nearly 8,000 people have been evacuated from Vovchansk and border areas since Friday.
The deteriorating situation coincided with a visit to Kyiv by secretary of state Antony Blinken, who announced a $2 billion arms deal. However most of the money he announced, about $1.6 billion, comes from the $60 billion package approved last month.Reuters


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