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Russian forces They isolate the occupied settlements in the northeast Ukraine In the Kharkiv region, Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the Defense Ministry said on Thursday, adding that it had been shooting at volunteer aid workers.
“There is an absolute ban on the delivery of humanitarian aid trucks from the territory under Ukrainian control,” the ministry warned in a Facebook post. “Locals have been warned not to fire on volunteers trying to provide assistance.”
The isolated settlements were in the Veliky Prluk district – an area just 20 miles from the Russian border, the ministry said.
Russia was using the Kharkiv region as it reimposed its offensive in eastern Ukraine.
All evacuation routes from the region have reportedly been closed with departures allowed “exclusively to the territory of the Russian Federation”.
The Defense Ministry said cell phones were out of order and many without electricity. ATMs, medical services and basic needs were also not available, and the ministry noted that consumer goods were “sold at very exorbitant prices.”
Kharkiv is located about 30 miles from the Russian border and lies along a major road on which the invading forces relied as they headed south towards the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
US defense officials have warned that Russia is looking to put pressure on the Luhansk and Donetsk regions – commonly referred to as Donbass – by pushing forces down from the north through Kharkiv and through the southeastern port city of Mariupol.
Russia continues to aggressively target the strategically important port city and declared victory over it on Thursday despite Ukrainian claims that they have not yet captured the city as thousands remain trapped in tunnels under a steel factory.
Ukraine is still trying to evacuate civilians stranded in the areas around the southern city of Kherson – about 260 miles southwest of Mariupol and 80 miles north of Russia-annexed Crimea – where guerrilla warfare continues.
Reports surfaced On Thursday it was alleged that Russia raised its flags over the Eternal Flame memorial in Kherson in World War II after occupying it for nearly eight weeks, but Ukrainian forces reported Restored villages Close to the city.
Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshuk said Ukrainian officials are working to secure evacuation routes from three villages northeast of the city.
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