Russia claims advances on two fronts, Blinken unlocks aid in Kiev

Russia said Wednesday its forces had pushed deeper into the Kharkiv region and also captured the symbolic town of Robotyne further south, one of the only prizes of Ukraine's underwhelming counteroffensive last summer.

Moscow's claims came as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced fresh military aid while in Kiev and said Washington had not explicitly prohibited Ukraine from using Western weapons to strike targets inside Russia.

Moscow's advances on two fronts point to the acute ammunition and manpower shortages crippling the Ukrainian military and paving the way for the Kremlin's army to eat away at Ukrainian territory.

President Volodymyr Zelensky cancelled planned trips abroad over the fresh offensive and the military was sending more troops to Kharkiv to hold back Russian advances, Kiev said.

"Units of the North group of troops liberated the settlements of Glyboke and Lukyantsi in Kharkiv region and also advanced deep into the enemy defences," the Russian defense ministry said, announcing their latest gains.

The defense ministry also said it had captured the southern Ukrainian village of Robotyne, one of only a handful of settlements Kiev retook at a huge cost in its summer counteroffensive last year.

Zelensky had visited the village in February and had hailed its recapture as a major success in what had otherwise been an operation plagued with setbacks.

  'Extremely difficult' fighting 

Moscow launched a surprise major ground assault on the Kharkiv region last week as it seeks to advance across the battlefield with Kiev struggling for arms and manpower.

The Russian advances have forced the evacuation of around 8,000 civilians from the Kharkiv region under risk of being...

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