Russians expelled from Kharkiv, Putin prepares for a long conflict

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Ukrainian forces have made territorial gains against the Russians north of the megacity of Kharkiv, kyiv says. Several villages and suburbs were taken and the Russians were pushed back to the border in the northeast of the country. According to the United States, there is a stalemate and Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for a long war.

The villages of Cherkaski Tyshky, Ruski Tyshki, Borshchova and Slobozhanske are all back in Ukrainian hands, quotes BBC News the Ukrainian army.

“Death traps” have been left in villages, says Governor Oleg Synegubov. “The enemy wants to kill as many civilians as possible,” he sneezes.

The advance of Ukrainian troops makes it more difficult for the Russians to bombard the megalopolis of Kharkiv with rockets. Before the war, the city had a population of one and a half million and was bombarded daily for more than two months, causing many deaths.

Zelensky wants a counteroffensive to push southeast

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the successes of the Ukrainian military in a video message. He confirmed that the Russians were “gradually” being driven out of the northeast and said the counter-offensive “could mean a change in the momentum of the war”.

Zelensky hopes the counteroffensive will slowly expand to the southeast. He ultimately wants Kherson, Melitopol, Berdyansk, Mariupol and other beleaguered towns taken from Russian hands, but warns against premature euphoria. “There is no need to create moral pressures that expect weekly or daily gains.”

US: Putin prepares for protracted conflict

Ukraine’s success near Kharkiv heralds a new phase in the war for eastern Ukraine, military experts say. They point out that in previous weeks Russia had tried unsuccessfully to advance and now it is Ukraine’s turn to mount a counter-offensive and break through Russian supply lines.

A presidential adviser to Zelensky, however, said last week that a full-scale counteroffensive was not yet in sight. It couldn’t be before mid-June at the earliest.

Despite this, senior US intelligence officials see Putin preparing for a protracted conflict. In the end, he would no longer be satisfied with a victory in the Donets basin either, says intelligence chief Avril Haines.

Scott Berrier, head of US military intelligence, finds that the warring parties are at an impasse: they are both making little or no progress. “The Russians are currently using brutal military methods to break the resistance in the east,” he added.

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