The city of Balakliya in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, where the Ukrainian army has been waging a counter-offensive for the past several days, is essentially not under the control of pro-Russian forces, the “head” of the occupation “government” Vitaly Ganchev said.
“There is a difficult humanitarian situation [in Balakliya]… Heavy fighting is underway. Balakliya is essentially not under our control. There are attempts to push out the Ukrainian forces, but there’s heavy fighting there, and our troops are being held back on the approaches to the city,” he said, quoted by RIA Novosti.
The situation near Shevchenkove remains difficult as well, he added. “The Ukrainian armed formations are trying to breach our defences there, too. Right now, reserves from all across Russia have been deployed there, our troops are fighting back,” Ganchev said.
The Russian Defence Ministry published a video showing Russian troops deploying armoured vehicles and personnel to the Kharkiv region.
Yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had taken control of Balakliya. For their part, the pro-Russian officials of the Kharkiv region stated that there was fighting along the entire line of contact, however, the city of Balakliya and the settlement of Shevchenkove remained under Russian control.
Reserve units of the Russian armed forces entered the Russia-occupied part of the Kharkiv region. Families with children were recommended to temporarily leave the dangerous zones where fighting had broken out.