The Ukrainian military asserts the Russian forces have withdrawn from around Kharkiv, concentrating their efforts on the battle in the east of the country.

Iran PressEurope: Russian troops were withdrawing from around Ukraine’s second-largest city after bombarding it for weeks, the Ukrainian military claimed Saturday, as Kyiv and Moscow’s forces engaged in a grinding battle for the country’s eastern industrial heartland.

Ukraine’s military said the Russian forces were pulling back from the northeastern city of Kharkiv and focusing on guarding supply routes while launching mortar, artillery and airstrikes in the eastern province of Donetsk in order to “deplete Ukrainian forces and destroy fortifications,” The Associated Press reported.

Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Ukraine was “entering a new — long-term — phase of the war.”

Putting on a show of support, a US Senate delegation led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday in Kyiv. A video posted on Zelensky’s Telegram account showed McConnell, who represents the state of Kentucky, and fellow Republican senators Susan Collins of Maine, John Barrasso of Wyoming and John Cornyn of Texas greeting him.

Their trip came after Kentucky’s other senator, Rand Paul, blocked until next week Senate approval of an additional $40 billion to help Ukraine and its allies in its 3-month-old conflict with Russia. In a statement after leaving Ukraine, McConnell said the United States “stands squarely behind Ukraine and will sustain our support until Ukraine wins this war.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has shifted his focus eastward to the Donbas, an industrial region where Ukraine has battled Moscow-backed groups since 2014.


Read More:

Russia celebrates Victory Day with new military equipment

Russia's army destroys weapons supplied by West in Kharkov region