Ukraine says it is bracing for a new push from Russian forces in the eastern region of Donbas and in the south. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Moscow could not admit that its operation was at a ‘dead end.’ His comments come as Russian forces started withdrawing from the second largest city of Kharkiv following a Ukrainian counteroffensive. But while the threat may be receding from Kharkiv, for civilians still left in the city, conditions are dire.
At a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg delivered an upbeat assessment of Ukraine’s battle against invading Russian forces.
The British defence ministry is saying Belarus has announced the deployment of special operations forces along the Ukrainian border.
Ukraine has accused Russia of dropping phosphorus bombs on the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. Images of the alleged attack were released by a pro-Russian separatist commander. The use of White Phosphorus is not banned under international conventions. But human rights groups have called for it to be outlawed, because of the severe burns it causes.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy says negotiations on saving Ukrainian troops defending the Azovstal plant are at a complicated and delicate phase. Ukrainian sources say some one thousand people are holding out at the site more than eighty days after the invasion started. They are refusing to surrender to Russian forces.

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