A destroyed Russian tank on the outskirts of Kharkiv

Russian troops are retreating from the outskirts of Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, after weeks of bombing it, the Ukrainian army said today, as forces from Kiev and Moscow battle across the country’s eastern industrial zone.

Ukraine’s general staff said the Russian military was withdrawing from the northeastern city to focus on securing supply routes while launching mortar, artillery and air strikes into Donetsk province to “deplete Ukrainian forces.” and destroy fortifications”, reports the Associated Press (AP).

Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Ukraine “is entering a new – and long – phase of the war”.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Ukrainians were doing “the best” to drive the invaders out and warned that the outcome of the war depended on support from Europe and other allies.

“No one can predict today how long this war will take,” Zelensky said in his Friday night video message.

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