Ukraine troops pull out of some areas and Zelenskyy postpones all foreign trips

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In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kyiv, Ukraine on May 14. (AP)

KYIV, Ukraine, May 15, (AP): Ukrainian forces withdrew from some areas of the country’s northeast and battled Russian troops in others on Wednesday, as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy postponed all his upcoming foreign trips, underscoring the seriousness of the threat his soldiers are facing.
Against that grim backdrop, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sought to reassure the ally of continuing American support, announcing a $2 billion arms deal. Most of the money comes from a package approved last month.
The top diplomat is in Ukraine as Russian troops press a new offensive in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region. It began last week, marking the most significant border incursion since the full-scale invasion began in 2022 and forcing thousands to flee their homes. In recent weeks, Moscow’s forces have also sought to build on gains in the eastern Donetsk region. Taken together the developments mean the war has entered a critical stage for Ukraine’s depleted army.
Ukraine’s General Staff reported late Tuesday that troops fell back from areas in Lukyantsi and Vovchansk “in order to save the lives of our servicemen and avoid losses.”
Vovchansk – just 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the Russian border and 50 kilometers (30 miles from the city of Kharkiv – has been the focus of much of the recent fighting, and Ukrainian and Russian troops battled in its streets on Wednesday. Oleksii Kharkivskyi, head of the city’s patrol police, said Russian troops were taking up positions in the city, while the Ukrainian General Staff said its forces were trying to flush them out.
Gunfire could be heard in the background of a video Kharkivskyi posted on his Instagram page.

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