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Ukraine says Russia 'robbing' wheat as war in east rages

Ukrainian soldiers stand on their armoured personnel carrier (APC), not far from the front-line in the Izyum district of the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on April 18.
Ukrainian soldiers stand on their armoured personnel carrier (APC), not far from the front-line in the Izyum district of the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on April 18. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukrainian officials say a town near Kharkiv has been recaptured from the Russians.

Kostiantyn Nemichev, an official at the Kharkiv Regional State Administration and a member of the Azov regiment, said Ukrainian forces had liberated the settlement of Ruska Lozova, which is just north of Kharkiv. In recent weeks, the Ukrainians say they've liberated several towns and villages in the area. 

"This is a strategically important settlement located on the Kharkiv-Belgorod highway. It was from this suburb, during the occupation, that the enemy fired at the civilian infrastructure and housing estates of Kharkiv," Nemichev said.

Nemichev's comments were echoed by the Ukrainian military, which said Friday that the town had been liberated by the assault unit of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. 

The Russians, however, are still able to shell Kharkiv and its immediate surroundings. 

Oleh Syniehubov, head of Kharkiv regional administration, said the intensity of shelling had lessened. "However, it's still quite dangerous to be outside in the streets. Unfortunately, we record civilian deaths every day," he said.

"Kharkiv shellings are chaotic. Usually the residential districts are affected, these are Saltivka, Northern Saltivka, Oleksiivka," he said, adding that electrical power was lost in several districts.

Syniehubov said that in the south of the Kharkiv region, the area around Izium — which is held by the Russians — remains the "hottest" spot. He said Ukrainian forces were holding their positions.

He said evacuations continued from several towns within range of Russian artillery fire, including Barvinkove, "as we expect there might be a theater of combat operations there."

Syniehubov also claimed that a Russian military unit accused of atrocities in the town of Bucha north of Kyiv had now redeployed to Kharkiv region. "It was partially eliminated nearby Izium. With these people taken captive, we will do everything for them to be punished accordingly, or at least to testify about their commanders who gave orders for such atrocities that took place in Bucha."

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