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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed there would be no respite in the fighting to regain territory lost to Russia as Kyiv announced his troops had advanced to the eastern bank of the Oskil River, threatening forces of Russian occupation in the Donbass. Follow FRANCE 24 for live updates. Every hour in Paris time (GMT+2).

05:25: Ukraine says its troops are advancing on the eastern bank of the Oskil River

Ukrainian troops “crossed the Oskil. Since yesterday, Ukraine controls the eastern bank,” the Ukrainian Armed Forces wrote on Telegram on Sunday.

Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk region, wrote on Telegram: “Luhansk region is right next to it. Clearance is not far away.”

Crossing the Oskil is another milestone in Ukraine’s counter-offensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region as it flows south to the Siversky Donets River, which runs through Lugansk, one of two provinces in the Donbass region. Zelenskiy vowed to keep the pressure on Moscow following Ukraine’s quick wins in Kharkiv this month.

“Perhaps it seems to some of you that after a winning streak we now have some kind of lull,” he said in his usual late-night address on Sunday. “But there won’t be a lull. There is preparation for the next series… Because Ukraine must be free. All of that.”

US President Joe Biden also said Ukraine’s victory meant withdrawing Russian forces from across the country and pledged US support for as long as needed.

“Winning the war in Ukraine is taking Russia completely out of Ukraine and recognizing sovereignty. They are defeating Russia,” he said in an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sunday.

“Russia turns out not to be as competent and capable as many people thought it was going to be.”

10:10 p.m .: Russian pop superstar speaks out against Ukraine offensive

Russian pop superstar Alla Pugacheva has denounced the conflict in Ukraine and the “d*ath of our boys for illusory purposes” amid a harsh crackdown on any anti-Kremlin criticism.

This is the first time the legendary crooner has spoken publicly about the Ukrainian offensive.

File photo of Russian pop superstar Alla Pugacheva (with flowers) taken in Moscow on 2, 2018. © Maxim Shemetov, Reuters

Pugacheva’s husband, Maxim Galkin, had just been recognized as a foreign agent – a label reminiscent of “the enemy of the people” that was widely used against opponents, journalists and human rights activists.

“I ask you to put me on the list of foreign agents of my beloved country,” Pugacheva, 73, told Russia’s Justice Ministry – and her 3.5 million followers – on Instagram.

“Because I stand in solidarity with my husband, who is an honest and ethical person, a true and incorruptible Russian patriot, who only wants prosperity, peace and freedom of expression in his homeland,” Pugacheva said.

7:10 p.m .: It is unclear how Russia will react to setbacks on the battlefield: the US general in chief

US Army General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley warned that it is still unclear how Russia might respond to the latest setbacks on the battlefield in Ukraine. He also called for vigilance among US troops as he visited a base in Poland helping Ukraine’s war effort.

“The war is not going too well for Russia right now, so it is incumbent on all of us to maintain a high state of readiness, alert,” Milley said.

The chief US general said he was not suggesting US troops in Europe faced an increased threat, but said they had to be ready.

“In the conduct of war, you simply don’t know with any high degree of certainty what is going to happen next.”

5:10 p.m .: The people of Izium have suffered “a terribly, terribly traumatic time”

Reporting from the city of Kharkiv, in north-eastern Ukraine, located about 100 km north of Izium, Gulliver Cragg of FRANCE 24 discusses the experiences of the inhabitants of Izium a few days after the city was taken over by Ukrainian forces. “It’s really been a terribly, terribly traumatic time. They say themselves they’re traumatized and need therapy,” Cragg said a day after his trip to Izium.

Regarding the Ukrainian offensive in the northeast region, Cragg said it was not going as smoothly as the recent push on the Kharkiv region. A spokesman for the Ukrainian military said there may be quicker successes coming from the ongoing offensive in the south, “where they are trying to retake the mostly occupied Kherson region”, said said Cragg.

© Graphic studio France Media World

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