Russia’s defense ministry said on Saturday that its forces had taken control of six border villages in the Kharkiv region.

The ministry claimed Russian troops had “liberated” the villages of Borysivka, Ohirtseve, Pletenivka, Pylna and Strilecha, AFP reported.

Nazar Voloshyn, spokesperson for Ukraine’s Khortytsia Operational Strategic Group, said on a nationally televised newscast on Saturday that the Russians’ Kharkiv offensive has been effectively repelled.

“By the command’s decision, defense units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) have been reinforced,” Voloshyn said.

“The enemy is contained in the gray zone, and it is not expanding. However, there is a question of completely crushing [the Russians] and hunting them down in the forests where they could hide.”

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Voloshyn added that defensive actions continue near the settlements of Lyptsi and Vovchansk.

“A total of 1,775 people have been evacuated [from the region],” Kharkiv governor Oleh Syniehubov said on Saturday.

Yuriy Butusov, a pro-Ukrainian milblogger and editor of Censor.net said that the advancement of Russian troops has been stopped two to five kilometers from the border.

“According to Russians, our [Ukrainian] defense is deployed and effectively working. At this point, the Russian attacks have been repelled,” he posted Saturday on his Telegram channel.

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“The Russians are trying to use infiltration tactics – that is, they are looking for gaps in our battle formations with the help of independent infantry groups, which should flow around our nodes of resistance with the support of air and artillery strikes.”

Butusov added that the enemy did not manage to go far: “All attempts to infiltrate were detected, our artillery and drones are actively working against the enemy. Our artillery is currently supplied with ammunition. During the day of the Russian offensive on the northern borders of the Kharkiv region, up to 20 units of Russian armored equipment were destroyed, this is only what was confirmed by video.”

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Ukraine’s General Staff estimated that Russians suffered upwards of 1,300 casualties on May 10. 

The battle continues, Butusov added, with both sides moving reserves in.

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