Putin ‘will trigger world nuclear arms race if he bombs Ukraine’

On Friday night, Oleksiy Gromov, a senior army official, said the village of Yatskivka had been retaken, adding Ukrainian troops had “regained control over positions to the south of Bakhmut”.

Yatskivka, about 10km east of Izyum, sits on the eastern bank of the strategic Oskil river, which Kyiv’s forces crossed after recapturing swathes of territory in neighbouring Kharkiv region.

Oleksii Hromov, the deputy chief of Ukraine’s general staff, said Russian troops have continued to conduct offensive actions to dislodge Ukrainian units from newly liberated positions around Bakhmut, without success.

Bakhmut, a key city with a pre-war population of 70,000 people, is also located in the Donetsk region and has been under Russian attacks for months. Moscow’s forces have failed so far to capture it.

Meanwhile, the Donetsk region and three other provinces in Ukraine that are fully or partially controlled by Russia – Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – are holding votes on whether to be annexed by Moscow.

Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, said Russia will regard Ukraine’s attempts to retake Donbas and other territories as attacks on Russia if the referendums provide a “yes”, Russia’s Tass news agency reported on Friday. 

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