Zelensky postpones his trip abroad, and Russian infantrymen enter a Ukrainian border town

Zelensky postpones his trip abroad, and Russian infantrymen enter a Ukrainian border town

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky postponed all foreign trips as the situation on the battlefield continued to deteriorate on Wednesday and Kiev said Russian infantry had entered the border town of Vovchansk in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Capturing the town, located five kilometers from the border, would be Russia's most important gain since it launched an incursion into the Kharkiv region on Friday, opening a new front and forcing Kiev to send reinforcements.

The offensive keeps exhausted and depleted Ukrainian forces off balance ahead of what Zelensky said could be a major Russian offensive in the coming weeks. Moscow has been slowly gaining ground in the east for months.

Oleksiy Kharkovsky, head of the Vovchansk patrol police, said on Facebook: “The situation is very difficult. The enemy is taking up positions on the streets of the city of Vovchansk.”

Ukrainian forces have retreated to “more advantageous” positions in two districts of the Kharkiv region, including the Vovchansk region, the Ukrainian military said late Tuesday.

They stated that the decision came “as a result of enemy fire and offensive operations” and was taken “to preserve the lives of our military personnel and avoid losses.”

Defense Ministry spokesman Dmytro Lazutkin said that “a small number” of Russian infantry groups had entered the city, which military analysts say Moscow needs to control to continue its offensive in that direction.

Kiev forces were trying to prevent Russia from assembling troops and military equipment north of Vovchansk, according to the army. He added that the Russians were trying to regroup and consolidate themselves and took no further “active” action on Wednesday.

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Kharkovsky said police remained in Vovchansk and continued to evacuate people. About 8,000 people have fled Vovchansk and border areas since Friday's attack.

No trips abroad

Zelensky postponed all his foreign trips, after the Ukrainian leader held a daily conference call with senior military figures to discuss the situation in the Kharkiv region and weapons supplies, Zelensky's spokesman Sergei Nikiforov said.

“Volodymyr Zelensky has instructed to postpone all international events scheduled for the next few days and to coordinate new dates,” Nikiforov wrote on Facebook.

Ukraine is trying to quell the offensive in the Kharkiv region, while maintaining the front line against Moscow's main incursion into the Donbas region and protecting itself from possible further cross-border incursions.

The deterioration of the situation in the Kharkiv region coincided with the visit of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to Kiev, who said that some American aid had arrived and more was on the way. This “would make a real difference,” he said.

“I know that this is a very difficult time. Your soldiers and your citizens, especially in the northeast, in Kharkiv, are suffering greatly,” he said.

“But they need to know, you need to know, that the United States is on your side, and much of the world is on your side. And they are fighting not just for a free Ukraine, but for the free world, the free world.” With you too.”

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