The Ukrainian flag rises again.
Ukraine's President Zelensky announced he has "excellent news," citing the liberation of a handful of Ukrainian settlements. For days, rumors have circulated about a possible breakthrough in the eastern Kharkiv region, but there had been no comments from Ukrainian officials until now.
Thus far, Mr. Zelensky has refused to name the locations that have been retaken, stating that "now is not the time to disclose" them. Separately, US officials claimed Ukraine was making "modest but important progress" against Russian forces.
President Zelensky claimed in his evening video message to Ukrainians that there was "positive news" concerning the rumored breakthrough of the Ukrainian military. "I believe every person feels proud of our heroes," he remarked, mentioning specific military units and praising their fighting valor. "Now is not the moment to designate the places to which the Ukrainian banner is returning," he remarked.
Ukraine has strengthened operational security in recent weeks, revealing scant specifics about an east and south counter-offensive. Ukrainian troops have undertaken an operation south of Kharkiv, towards the eastern province of Donetsk, which Russia has retained significant military control over since the war began six months ago. According to some sources, Ukrainian soldiers may be a few hundred kilometers from Izyum, a critical link in Russia's military supply line.
Credit: Alexey Furman; Getty Images
Moscow might be forcibly expelling Ukrainians to Russia.
At a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday, Albanian and US diplomats raised concerns about Russia's "filtration camps," which purportedly hold, question, and deport Ukrainians forcefully to Russia. The word goes back to the early 1990s, during the first Chechen hostilities.
Russia has expelled a Romanian diplomat.
In retaliation for the expulsion of one of its ambassadors from Bucharest, Russia ordered the departure of a Romanian diplomat on Thursday. Romania, like the rest of the European Union, was declared an "unfriendly country" by Moscow after imposing sanctions in response to Russia's conflict in Ukraine.
This is highly similar to what happened after Bulgaria expelled over 70 Russian diplomats.