Ukrainian forces “appear to have won the battle of Kharkiv”, according to a US defence thinktank, in what appears to be their fastest advance since Russian troops pulled away from Kyiv and the north-east over a month ago.
The mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov, has told the BBC that the Russians have withdrawn from the Kharkiv city area in the direction of the Russian border.
He says that Russian troops had only ever managed to enter a small part of the key north-eastern city once, and were not there for a long time.
"The Russians were constantly shelling Kharkiv because they were staying very close to the city. And due to the efforts of Kharkiv territorial defence and Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Russians have withdrawn out far from the city area in the direction of the Russian border,” he says.
"Now it is calm in Kharkiv and people are gradually coming back to the city. We provide water, gas and electricity supply to all the citizens. However, unfortunately, many residential buildings are destroyed or damaged. So, in the future we will have to do huge reconstruction.
"There was no shelling in the city for the last five days. There was only one attempt from Russians to hit the city with a missile rocket near Kharkiv airport, but the missile was eliminated by Ukrainian Air Defence."
US-based thinktank claims Russian troops are being pushed back eastwards from Ukraine’s second city, and aiming to use mercenaries.