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Russian troops leveling out frontline in Kharkov area — local administration

The Ukrainian military is deploying reserves from "all areas it can draw" them, including the Kupyansk direction, Vitaly Ganchev said

MOSCOW, May 21. /TASS/. Russian troops are gradually leveling out the frontline in the Kharkov area and have liberated 40% of Volchansk, Vitaly Ganchev, head of the regional military-civilian administration, said on Tuesday.

"Our guys are controlling about 40% of the town and have wedged quite deep into the enemy’s defense and driven it out as much as they could from all lines, those that were in Volchansk and secured their positons, we can say. The basic part of the town’s northern part has been fully liberated. The advance is slow but steady," Ganchev said during a live broadcast on Russia’s Television Channel One.

Volchansk is strategically important and that it why the Ukrainian army is bringing in "very serious forces" and "trying to counterattack," he added.

The Ukrainian military is deploying reserves from "all areas it can draw" them, including the Kupyansk direction, Ganchev said.

"Besides, available information indicates that they were deploying reserves from the southern direction, that is, from Kramatorsk, moving in a column. According to our information, there is quite a large amount of Western equipment, and also manpower," he said.

The Ukrainian army has to counterattack and retreat with heavy casualties to justify Kiev’s statements about the creation of defensive lines in the Kharkov Region, Ganchev said.

"Little by little, our units are levelling it out [the frontline]. [They are pushing forward daily by] some 150-200 meters and taking more convenient positions for a further offensive," he said.

Russian troops have also achieved successes in their advance to the settlement of Liptsy located north of Kharkov, he added.

"Our fighters can also already control major heights that enable them to keep control of some roads used for supplying Ukrainian armed formations and bringing their reserves," Ganchev said.

Kiev admits that the situation in the Kharkov Region is extremely tense for Ukrainian troops. Ukraine’s General Staff announced on May 14 that the Kiev forces had "to relocate to more advantageous positions" near Volchansk and Lukyantsy. The Ukrainian military command also reported bringing additional reserves to the region. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky admitted that Kiev was drawing these units from other frontline areas. He held a meeting of the supreme commander-in-chief’s headquarters in Kharkov on May 16 and called that direction an extremely difficult frontline area.

Russia’s Defense Ministry reported earlier that Russian troops had liberated some communities in the Kharkov Region. It also reported on May 14 that Russian troops were moving deep into the enemy’s defenses.