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Russian military explains partial withdrawal

The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed withdrawal of troops from multiple locations across Ukraine’s Kharkov region. The development comes amid a Ukrainian offensive in the area.

“In order to achieve the goals of the special military operation, a decision was made to regroup troops in the areas of Balakleya and Izyum in order to build up efforts in the Donetsk direction,” the Russian military said in a statement on Saturday.

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The troops stationed in the area have been “re-deployed” over the past three days into territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the ministry claimed. During the operation, the military has performed a “number of distracting and demonstration activities imitating the real action of troops,” it added, without providing any further detail on said maneuvers.

In order to prevent “damage to Russian troops,” the military has been subjecting Ukrainian units in the area to “powerful” artillery, missile and aircraft attacks, the ministry said, claiming destruction of over 100 armor pieces and artillery, as well as elimination of “more than 2,000 Ukrainian and foreign fighters” in the past three days.

The withdrawal comes amid a massive Ukrainian offensive that was launched in Kharkov Region on Thursday. The assault was preceded by attempts to advance in other areas, namely near the Russia-controlled southern Ukrainian city of Kherson.

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