Ukraine appears to make gains over Russia in Kharkiv

Even as Ukrainian forces reclaimed territory in the country’s northeast on Saturday, driving Russian forces away from the city of Kharkiv and going on the offensive near the town of Izium, military leaders warned the war was entering a new phase..

Ukraine, gains, Russia

In the most precise prediction by a senior Ukrainian official to date, Major General Kyrylo Budanov has said he believes the war will be over by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Russias deputy foreign minister has said the country will take action if NATO moves nuclear forces near its border, according to Russian news agencies cited by Reuters.

Ukraines resistance has also made significant territorial gains, pushing Russian forces away from Kharkiv, Ukraines second largest city. The northeastern city has seen significant bombarded since Russia began its full scale invasion in late February, and was thought to be a key target for the Kremlin.

Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer and author of the Russian dossier on former President Donald Trump, told Sky News that his sources have said Russian President Vladimir Putin is "quite seriously ill" though the nature of the illness remains unclear.

"Certainly, from what were hearing from sources in Russia and elsewhere, is that Putin is, in fact, quite seriously ill," Steele, who ran the Russia desk at MI6 in London between 2006 and 2009, told Sky News. "Its not clear exactly what this illness is — whether its incurable or terminal, or whatever."

His comments come after Ukrainian Major General Kyrylo Budanov, in a separate interview with Sky News, said Putin is seriously ill with cancer and that a coup to remove him is under way in Russia.

Ukrainian band, Kalush Orchestra, made an impassioned plea to free people still trapped in a besieged steel mill in a strategic Ukrainian port city on Saturday night after performing in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, where bookmakers tip them to win.

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