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Official says Ukrainian forces repelled in failed attempt by Kiev to encircle Balakleya

Vitaly Ganchev said Ukraine’s military had stepped up their shelling of settlements in the region, damaging infrastructure facilities

MOSCOW, September 8. /TASS/. Head of the Kharkov Region military-civilian administration, Vitaly Ganchev, on Thursday said Ukrainian forces attempted to encircle the city of Balakleya, but were beaten back, and the city remains under the control of the allied forces.

"In the area of Balakleya, the armed forces of Ukraine attempted to seize the city, by encircling it. Nevertheless, they only managed to dent the defense line a little across some of the area, and then they were pushed back <... >. The city is under our control," he told Rossiya-24 television.

Ganchev said Ukraine’s military has stepped up their shelling of settlements in the region, damaging infrastructure facilities, including children's institutions.

"We haven’t declared a centralized evacuation of the population at this time, but we said that if some people want to take children to safer locations, there’s basically no obstacles to that. People may leave the city now that the shelling has become more frequent," he said.

The official earlier said that Balakleya and the city of Izyum are incessantly bombarded by Ukrainian forces. He said the intensity of the shelling in the north of the Kharkov Region, including on the border with Russia, had increased in recent days.

The forces of Russia and the Lugansk People's Republic control some of the Kharkov Region, with district administrations in Volchansk, Izyum, Kupyansk and the village of Kazachya Lopan, answering to the regional military-civilian administration. Ganchev previously said 20% of the region's territory had been liberated.