Russia responds to Finland’s NATO plan with threats of retaliation – The Washington Post

Ukrainian troops appear to have forced a Russian retreat in Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, but analysts warn that Moscow’s forces are regrouping and preparing for a siege on another area in the east. Meanwhile, shelling across the country continues to claim lives and destroy infrastructure.

Here are updates from key battlegrounds:

Kharkiv: Ukrainian forces have mounted an effective counterattack in the area around this northeastern city, British and Ukrainian military officials said. Even though Russians encircled the city in the war’s early days, Ukraine’s resistance appears to have pushed them to withdraw, the British defense ministry said. Still, shelling on Thursday killed at least two on the city’s outskirts, local authorities said.

Novgorod-Siversky: In this northern city, just 30 miles from the Russian border, airstrikes early Thursday killed three people and injured 12, regional and national officials said. The strikes destroyed administrative buildings, homes and schools. Russia also claimed to have hit ammunition depots nearby.

Poltava Oblast: This central Ukrainian region on Thursday experienced “perhaps the most intense” stretch of shelling since the war began, its governor said. Twelve Russian rockets hit the city of Kremenchuk, he said, most landing on an oil refinery, which caught fire. No injuries were reported.

Donetsk Oblast: Russian strikes killed at least four civilians in villages dotting this eastern region, one of the two that makes up the Donbas, its governor said. Five people were injured. Donetsk, a stronghold for Russian occupying forces, has long been the site of fierce fighting.

Severodonetsk: One of the last large Ukrainian holdout cities in Luhansk, the other region comprising the Donbas, Severodonetsk has watched Russian troops slowly encroach. Russian troops captured a suburb of the city, a local official said, fearing a coming onslaught. Military analysts have said Moscow may begin focusing more of its military operations on this city.

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