Ukrainian troops reach Russian border in counterattack near Kharkiv, claims regional governor

Reported development comes as western sources speak of loss of Russian momentum in eastern Ukraine

<p>A dozen Ukrainian troops stand beside what is said to be a border post near Kharkiv, Ukraine </p>

A dozen Ukrainian troops stand beside what is said to be a border post near Kharkiv, Ukraine

Ukrainian forces have launched a successful counterattack near the northeastern city of Kharkiv, with some of its troops reaching the Russian border, according to the regional governor.

Oleh Sinegubov said on Telegram that soldiers from the 227th Battalion of the 127th Brigade had re-erected a post there.

"We thank everyone who, risking their lives, liberates Ukraine from Russian invaders,” he added.

Ukraine’s defence ministry also claimed that members of the battalion had gone as far as the border, releasing a photograph of a dozen servicemen standing beside a blue and yellow pole.

Neither Mr Sinegubov nor Kyiv specified how many Ukrainian troops had arrived in the border area.

The Independent could not immediately verify the claims about the counterattack, carried out by soldiers defending Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, which is located around 30 miles from Russia.

The reported development comes after western sources suggested Russian attacks were stalling in eastern Ukraine, where most of the fighting is taking place.

"The brutal invasion [by] Russia is losing momentum," Nato deputy-secretary general Mircea Geoana said on Sunday, before adding his belief that Ukraine can win the war.

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) echoed this view, saying the Kremlin’s campaign in the eastern Donbas region was “significantly behind schedule”.

“Russian forces are increasingly constrained by degraded enabling capabilities, continued low morale and reduced combat effectiveness,” it added.

Meanwhile, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), an American think tank, said that Russia had likely dropped its plan to encircle Ukrainian units between Donetsk and Izyum. It said the Kremlin would now focus its efforts on the region of Luhansk instead.

Ukrainian soldiers walk in a forest near a recently recaptured village to the north of Kharkiv on 15 May, 2022

To hinder the Russian invasion further, the Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba called on the EU to impose an oil embargo on Russia, a move the bloc’s diplomats say is being hindered by Hungary.

Mr Kuleba also urged western nations to deliver more weapons to Ukraine and to consider its application to join the EU under special criteria.

“We believe Ukraine deserves an individual and merit based assessment,” he said during a visit to Brussels on Monday.

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