Zelensky says situation in Kharkiv region 'controlled' but 'not stabilized'

Zelensky says situation in Kharkiv region 'controlled' but 'not stabilized'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the situation in the Kharkiv region is currently "controlled" but not "stabilized" amid a Russian offensive.

He said this in an interview with AFP, Ukrinform reports.

Zelensky said Russian troops had penetrated between five to ten kilometers along the northeastern border before being stopped by Ukrainian forces.

Russia's offensive "could consist of several waves. There was the first wave" in Kharkiv region, he said.

Zelensky played down Russia's gains in the offensive so far but added: "We have to be sober and understand that they are going deeper into our territory. Not vice versa. And that's still their advantage."

Read also: Zelensky: West is afraid Russia will lose war, and it does not want Ukraine to lose it

Zelensky said that Russian forces "want to attack" Kharkiv although they realize it would be "very difficult." "They understand that we have forces that will fight for a long time," he said.

At the same time, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin stated on Friday that the Russian army does not plan to capture Kharkiv "as of now," but is trying to create a "security zone" in the areas bordering the Belgorod region, AFP said.

Zelensky also said Russia did not have enough forces for "a full-scale offensive on the [Ukrainian] capital like the one they had at the beginning of the offensive."

But he emphasized that Ukraine and its Western allies should not show weakness and called for the deployment of two Patriot batteries to defend the skies over the Kharkiv region and show Ukraine's resilience.

"They are like a beast... If they feel a weakness somewhere in this direction, they will press on," he said.

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