Ukraine advancing in Kharkiv region but fighting still raging, deputy defence minister says

A police sapper sorts unexploded mine shells and weapons after return from the village of Udy, recently liberated by Ukrainian Armed Forces, in the town of Zolochiv, Kharkiv region, Ukraine September 12, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo

ON ROAD TO BALAKLIIA, Ukraine, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Fighting is still raging in Ukraine's northeastern Kharkiv region but Ukraine's forces are making good progress because its forces are highly motivated and its operation is well planned, Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar told Reuters on Tuesday.

"The aim is to liberate the Kharkiv region and beyond - all the territories occupied by the Russian Federation. Fighting is continuing (in Kharkiv region). It is still early to say full (Ukrainian) control has been established over Kharkiv region," Malyar said in an interview.

"Our strength stems from the fact that we are very motivated and that we plan operations thoroughly," she said, adding that Ukraine had taken the decision to press on with its operation in the Kharkiv region due to the successes notched up so far.

Malyar was speaking on the road to Balakliia, a crucial military supply hub recaptured by Ukrainian forces late last week during a counter-offensive that forced Russian troops to flee further east. Balakliia is 74 km (46 miles) southeast of Kharkiv, the regional capital and Ukraine's second largest city.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said overnight that Ukraine had now recaptured roughly 6,000 square km (2,400 square miles) of territory but he called on the West to speed up deliveries of weapons systems. read more

Russia, which still controls around a fifth of the country following its invasion on Feb. 24, has responded to Kyiv's battlefield successes by shelling power stations and other key infrastructure, causing blackouts in Kharkiv and elsewhere.

Reporting by Tom Balmforth on the road to Balakliia. Writing by Gareth Jones; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel

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