Ukrainian soldiers are advancing to the north and northeast of Kharkiv, according to the head of the northeastern city's regional military administration, as a weeks-long counter-attack gathers pace.
Oleh Syniehubov told Ukrainian television Tuesday that fighting was underway northeast of Ukraine's second-largest city, toward the town of Vovchansk, along the Russia-Ukraine border.
The town has become a resupply route for Russian forces as they try to sustain their offensive into the Donetsk and Luhansk regions further south. Disrupting that supply line could compromise the Russians' ability to reinforce their offensive towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
"Active hostilities are taking place in settlements north of the region," Syniehubov said. "The enemy is focused on holding positions. Our troops have to repel (them on) every inch of our territory."
Syniebuhov added that Ukrainian advances had helped reduce — but not eliminate — Russian artillery attacks on Kharkiv. There had been "relative silence for the last two weeks," Syniebuhov said. "However, the enemy sometimes hits with artillery strikes."
There were strikes in the Saltivka and Shevchenkivskyi districts close to Kharkiv on Monday, Syniebuhov added.
"Two people were killed and nine were injured in the past 24 hours," he said.
Syniebuhov said Russian shelling of other parts of the Kharkiv region continued.