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Ukraine’s general staff said the troops were pulling back from the country’s second-largest city and focusing on guarding supply routes.
Kharkiv has been under assault since Russia started its invasion in late February.
Recently, Russia has made incremental gains in the eastern Donbas region, according to a senior U.S. defense official – though morale remains an issue.
An elderly woman walks inside a metro station being used as a bomb shelter in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Thursday, May 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov)
The fight continues – after failing to capture Ukraine’s capital – and the Ukrainian military chief for the Luhansk province said Friday that Russian troops had nearly full control of Rubizhne.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s forces had also made some headway, retaking six towns or villages.
In his nightly video address late Friday, the leader said that “no one today can predict how long [the] war will last.
“This will depend, unfortunately, not only on our people, who are already giving their maximum,” Zelenskyy noted. “This will depend on our partners, on European countries, on the entire free world.”
A destroyed vehicle lies in the middle of a road in north Kharkiv, east Ukraine, Friday, May 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) there have been 7,389 civilian casualties in Ukraine, including 3,573 deaths and 3,816 injuries.
Fox News’ Caitlin McFall, Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.