Russia mentioned on Friday it was sending reinforcements to the Kharkiv area in japanese Ukraine, the place Kyiv says it has re-taken dozens of settlements as a part of a broader counter-offensive.
President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned in his night handle that Ukrainian troops had retaken 30 areas from Russian forces.
"We are gradually taking control over new settlements. We are returning the Ukrainian flag and protection for our citizens everywhere," he mentioned, calling on Ukrainians to report any crimes dedicated by the occupying forces.
Within the Kharkiv area, Ukrainian officers have exhumed two our bodies in a village just lately recaptured from Russia, a part of an investigation right into a doable conflict crime.
Grakove village was the scene of fierce preventing within the early weeks of Russia's invasion.
Russian state media broadcast footage of navy automobiles travelling alongside paved roads and filth tracks in Kharkiv area, emblazoned with the letter "Z", the image of Moscow's invasion.
A Moscow-installed official, Vitaliy Ganchev, mentioned in televised remarks that "fierce battles" have been below means close to the city of Balakliya, which Ukraine mentioned it had recaptured on Thursday.
"We do not control Balakliya. Attempts are being made to dislodge the Ukrainian forces, but there are fierce battles, and our troops are being held back on the approaches," Ganchev mentioned.
"Now Russian reserves have been brought there, our troops are fighting back," he added.
Contemporary shelling of nuclear plant
The pinnacle of the Worldwide Atomic Vitality Company (IAEA) in the meantime warned of "dramatic" developments on the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear energy plant in southern Ukraine the place latest preventing had "compromised the safe operation" of the power.
IAEA Secretary Basic Rafael Grossi warned that contemporary shelling close to the plant had triggered a blackout within the close by city of Energodar.
That jeopardised the protected operating of the plant, he mentioned.
"This is completely unacceptable. It cannot stand," he mentioned, insisting on "the immediate cessation of all shelling in the entire area".
Petro Kotin, the top of Ukraine's nuclear power company, informed AFP that Russian forces had tortured workers on the nuclear energy station, and that no less than two folks had been killed.
"Two people were beaten to death. We do not know where about ten people are now, they were taken (by the Russians) and after that we have no information about their whereabouts," he mentioned.
Within the just lately recaptured village of Grakove, the place Ukrainian officers exhumed two our bodies Friday, resident Sergiy Lutsay spoke to journalists about what he had seen.
Russian troopers had pressured him to bury the our bodies at gunpoint quickly after the conflict started, he mentioned.
"They came to my house, I was with my father, aged 70," he informed journalists. "I was scared that they would threaten him."
"They told me to come to dig a hole."
He wouldn’t affirm a police assertion that mentioned that no less than one of many two males killed had had his ears minimize off.
'Large prices' for Russia: Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned Russia's push to strengthen Kharkiv confirmed Moscow was paying "huge costs" in its bid to seize after which maintain Ukrainian territory.
"There are a huge number of Russian forces that are in Ukraine and unfortunately, tragically, horrifically President (Vladimir) Putin has demonstrated that he will throw a lot of people into this at huge cost to Russia," he mentioned.
He was talking throughout a go to to Brussels on Friday for talks with NATO Secretary Basic Jens Stoltenberg.
A day earlier he paid a shock go to to Kyiv throughout which he unveiled one other $2.8 billion in navy assist and hailed Ukraine's "clear and real" frontline features.
Late on Thursday, Zelensky shared footage exhibiting camouflage-clad Ukrainian troopers holding his nation's blue-and-yellow flag over Balakliya.
The city, which had been below Russian management for round six months and had a pre-war inhabitants of round 30,000 folks, fell early on to Russian forces who invaded in February.
Now, Russian officers within the Kharkiv area say they’re evacuating civilians in direction of Russia "until the situation stabilises".
On the Ukrainian facet nonetheless, Kharkiv regional governor Oleg Synegubov warned folks to not return to newly recaptured areas whereas "cleaning and demining" came about.
Within the space round Kharkiv metropolis, Ukrainian forces penetrated 50 kilometres (30 miles) past Russian traces and took again greater than 20 cities and villages, navy officers mentioned.