US rushing weapons to Ukraine & Zelensky bunkers down after troops forced to RETREAT from Putin’s 500k-strong advance

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THE US is rushing military aid to Ukraine to ramp up its defence after troops were forced to retreat from Russia's sweeping offensive.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had to postpone all his upcoming foreign trips after Putin amassed more than half a million troops on the frontline, advancing rapidly, especially in the east.

Ukrainian troops have been struggling to hold back Russian advances

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Ukrainian troops have been struggling to hold back Russian advancesCredit: Getty

Blinken said there is more military aid on the way for Ukraine

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Blinken said there is more military aid on the way for UkraineCredit: Reuters

President Zelensky was forced to postpone all his upcoming trips abroad

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President Zelensky was forced to postpone all his upcoming trips abroadCredit: EPA

Russian forces have been pounding Kharkiv since the new offensive

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Russian forces have been pounding Kharkiv since the new offensiveCredit: EPA

Russia has launched a fresh offensive advancing rapidly in the east

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Russia has launched a fresh offensive advancing rapidly in the eastCredit: Reuters

Ukrainian fighters were forced to withdraw in some parts of the country as the Russians advanced on two fronts deep inside Ukrainian territory.

Kyiv's military said it was sending more troops to Kharkiv to hold back Russian advances, where the Kremlin claims it has captured a number of villages.

It previously admitted it is struggling to contain the advance in the northeast of the country.

In response, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said today the US is rushing a $2 billion military aid to Ukraine including ammunition, armoured vehicles, missiles and air defences to hold back Russian onslaughts.

Blinken vowed to make Russia pay to rebuild Ukraine, after meeting with Zelensky on Tuesday.

He said: “It’s what international law demands.”

His visit came just weeks after the US Congress finally approved a £50billion aid package for Ukraine.

He also appeared to give the green light for Ukrainian strikes with Western weapons on Russian territory.

He said: "We have not encouraged or enabled strikes outside of Ukraine, but ultimately Ukraine has to make decisions for itself about how it's going to conduct this war."

Meanwhile, President Zelensky had to postpone upcoming trips abroad - he was planning to visit Spain later this week.

Ukraine CAN beat Russia with these 3 things - Russian heartland blitz, more men & weapons tactic

He said in an address last night: "Donetsk and Kharkiv regions are where it is most difficult now."

Russian soldiers were said to be shooting civilians, including children, at point-blank range in Kharkiv

Putin hailed his troops' advances in Kharkiv and told military leaders in a televised meeting: "In all directions our troops are constantly, every day, improving their positions."

Moscow launched a surprise major ground assault on the Kharkiv region last week as it seeks to advance across the battlefield with Kyiv struggling for arms and manpower.

The Russian advances have forced the evacuation of around 8,000 civilians at risk of being caught in the crossfire, according to Ukrainian emergency services.

Some military analysts say Moscow may be trying to force Ukraine to divert troops from other areas of the front line, such as around the strategic town of Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region, where Russia has also been advancing.

Meanwhile, Russian airstrikes on the cities of Mykolaiv and Kherson have left at least 17 people injured.

Authorities in another village under attack, Vovchansk, said there was intense street-to-street fighting in the border town.

Police chief Oleksiy Kharkivsky posted on social media: "We are here and are evacuating people and helping them. The situation in Vovchansk is extremely difficult."

Latest on the war in Ukraine

RUSSIA massed tens of thousands of troops and tanks and launched a major new ground offensive on northeastern Ukraine on Friday and has seized miles on ground quickly.

The blitz, said to be the first stage of Russia’s summer offensive, is designed to stretch Ukraine’s already outnumbered defenders.

Kyiv said the Russian push appeared to have run out of steam last night — but, in the face of Putin’s 500,000-strong force, warned that could change quickly.

UK defence secretary Grant Shapps said the world is taking its "eye off the ball" after the recent Russian attacks.

Despite the success, Ukraine said Russia has suffered record losses with 1,740 reportedly killed in a single day as its troops are thrown into the Kharkiv meatgrinder assaults.

Thousands of Ukrainian people have also been made to flee their homes out of fear of attacks.

As children have been seen going to school in underground, missile proof bunkers in the heart of war-torn Ukraine.

Russia stepped up attacks on Kharkiv in March targeting energy infrastructure and settlements with constant airstrikes in what analysts predicted were preparations for a new offensive.

The city of Kharkiv, located on the eastern front only 30 miles from the Russian border, was the prime target of Russia's aerial bombardment.

Its mayor had warned the West that it risked being turned into a "second Aleppo" - the Syrian city which heavy Russian bombing helped to decimate a decade ago.

The interior ministry announced that three civilians had been killed in Kharkiv over the last 24 hours and the national police said five civilians had been wounded by Russian fire.

At least two people were killed in Russian aerial attacks on the city of Dnipro.

Ukrainian officials have said that more than 30,000 Russian troops have been deployed to the northeastern region.

The blitz, said to be the first stage of Russia’s summer offensive, is designed to stretch Ukraine’s already outnumbered defenders.

Kyiv said the Russian push appeared to have run out of steam last night — but, in the face of Putin’s 500,000-strong force, warned that could change quickly.

Smoke can be seen in the sky after a Russian airstrike in Kharkiv

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Smoke can be seen in the sky after a Russian airstrike in KharkivCredit: Reuters

Zelensky said Donetsk and Kharkiv regions are where it is most difficult now

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Zelensky said Donetsk and Kharkiv regions are where it is most difficult nowCredit: Reuters
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