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Ukraine advancing in Kharkiv region but fighting still raging, says official

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Fighting is still raging in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region but Ukraine’s forces are making good progress because its forces are highly motivated and its operation is well planned, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar told Reuters on Tuesday.

“The aim is to liberate the Kharkiv region and beyond - all the territories occupied by the Russian Federation. Fighting is continuing (in Kharkiv region). It is still early to say full (Ukrainian) control has been established over Kharkiv region,” Malyar said in an interview.

“Our strength stems from the fact that we are very motivated and that we plan operations thoroughly,” she said, adding that Ukraine had taken the decision to press on with its operation in the Kharkiv region due to the successes notched up so far.

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Malyar was speaking on the road to Balakliia, a crucial military supply hub recaptured by Ukrainian forces late last week during a counter-offensive that forced Russian troops to flee further east. Balakliia is 74 kilometers (46 miles) southeast of Kharkiv, the regional capital and Ukraine’s second largest city.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said overnight that Ukraine had now recaptured roughly 6,000 square kilometers (2,400 square miles) of territory but he called on the West to speed up deliveries of weapons systems.

Russia, which still controls around a fifth of the country following its invasion on February 24, has responded to Kyiv’s battlefield successes by shelling power stations and other key infrastructure, causing blackouts in Kharkiv and elsewhere.

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