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Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

Ukrainian forces have continued to advance deep into Russian-occupied parts of Kharkiv region in the country’s northeast, according to multiple social media videos as well as accounts from both the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian social media channels. 

The Russian 202nd motorized rifle regiment, “located in the Kharkiv region, withdrew from their positions and moved to the nearest forest. The unit was left without commanders and communications,” Ukrainian intelligence said.

Ukrainian forces have advanced more than 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) eastwards into Russian-held territory across a widening front, threatening to cut off Russian forces to the south around Izium.

Russian soldiers were “calling to relatives with requests to contact the command and find out where they should go next. Some of them ask their wives to contact the hotlines of the Ministry of Defense of Russia and the Red Cross with the demand to remove them from the territory of Ukraine,” the Intelligence Directorate claimed.

It provided no evidence for the assertion.

The Directorate said the Russians had sued flamethrowers in an effort to stay the Ukrainian advance but “suffered serious losses, left their positions and retreated in small groups.”

“Due to the lack of logistics, they are retreating in a disorganized manner.”

The Directorate also claimed that the “237th Guards Airborne Assault Regiment of the Russian Federation ceased to exist due to the death or injury of all servicemen.”

A pro-Russian Telegram channel called the Kharkiv People’s Republic said that a “really large force” of Russian reserves had been deployed and “were able to repel an attack by the AFU [Ukrainian forces] on Horokhovatka and prevent the cutting of the Izium – Borova bridge.”

It acknowledged fighting in the area and suggested that Ukrainian forces were advancing south towards Izium.

The channel said that civilians were being evacuated from both Izium, which has been the main hub for the Russian assault southwards into Donetsk region since April. The evacuation of civilians from Kupyansk, a critical point for Russian resupply, was also continuing, it said.

“The Russian Armed Forces are preparing for defenses and a possible siege of the settlements,” it said.

The channel also acknowledged that a Russian command post had been hit and a bridge disabled near Kupyansk.

It concluded that “the most optimistic scenario for the [Russian] Armed Forces command is the creation of an encirclement” of Ukrainian forces but added that the Ukrainian tactic of using small, manoeuvrable groups had been effective, adding that if they “manage to gain a foothold, it will be much more difficult to recapture the seized territories.”

Through geolocation and the statements of the Ukrainian military, independent analysts and Russian military bloggers, it’s estimated that Ukrainian forces have taken well over 400 square kilometers of territory this week in the Kharkiv region. 

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