Ukrainian Forces Liberate Critical Territory North Of Kharkiv

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Ukrainian forces liberated another settlement near Kharkiv, which is the country’s second-largest city and has been targeted by Russians throughout the currently unfolding war. “Ukraine’s General Staff says Ukraine has recaptured the village of Tsyrkuny to the north-east of Kharkiv, denying invading Russian troops their last artillery position close to the city,” journalist Euan MacDonald wrote Saturday on Twitter, including an illustrative map. Ukrainians have recently reclaimed settlements around the area, including Oleksandrivka, Fedorivka, Ukrainka, Shestakove, Peremoha, and part of the village of Cherkaski Tyshky.

In the Kharkiv region, where Russian forces currently occupy jurisdictions including the city of Izyum, area Governor Oleh Synehubov says residents have been forced out of Ukraine and into Russia. According to the same official, Russians have also sought to force residents of Izyum into military service for Russia. “When we liberate settlements, we see both civilian casualties and the bodies of the Russian military, which they do not take away. We record all this so that no war crime is ignored by justice,” Synehubov recently stated. Across Ukraine, Russians have been reported to have set up so-called filtration camps where detained Ukrainians are interrogated for links to interests such as independent media and the Ukrainian government and face threats of torture and execution if such links are suspected. Four such camps were apparently established around the devastated Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

World leaders continue to stand by Ukraine. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an unannounced visit to the Kyiv suburb called Irpin this Sunday. Irpin was temporarily under Russian occupation and was the site of some of the Kyiv-area devastation that shook the world. Over 1,200 civilians were killed by Russian occupiers in the Kyiv area — Russians never took Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, but they inflicted devastation around it.

U.S. First Lady Jill Biden also made a surprise visit to Ukraine over the weekend. “This Mother’s Day, I wanted to be with Ukrainian mothers and their children. Over the last few months, far too many Ukrainians have had to flee their homes – forcing them to leave behind their loved ones,” Biden said on Twitter. “As a mother, I can only imagine the grief and anxiety they must feel every day from Russia’s unprovoked attack. I’ve seen firsthand how the people of Slovakia and Romania have opened their homes, their schools, their hospitals, and their hearts. Together, we are united for Ukraine. I hope by being here I can convey how much their strength and resilience inspires the world, and remind them that they are not alone.” Besides visiting refugees in Romania and Slovakia, Biden also went to Uzhhorod, a Ukrainian city, where she met with Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska. Back in the U.S., officials are looking to ramp up the pace of support for those defending Ukraine against Putin.