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Russian ship destroyed after large scale drone attack, Ukraine claims

Ukraine destroyed a Russian ship overnight in the Black Sea in a major blow for Putin’s forces, it has been claimed.

According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence: “Another bad day for the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Overnight, Ukrainian defenders destroyed a russian minesweeper Project 266M Kovrovets”.

Drones also hit an oil refinery in Slavyansk in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region. According to Russian officials on Telegram, Kyiv launched attacks allegedly using American ATACMS, but say the attacks were prevented by air defence systems.

Operations at the facility have been suspended and no casualties or damage, according to preliminary reports.

Meanwhile, Russia has continued to make advances near Ukraine’s second biggest city Kharkhiv with reports of shelling overnight and attacks on surrounding towns including, Hlyboke, Lukiantsi and Vovchansk – where a local resident was killed as a result of a strike. Reports also suggest Ukrainian defences are holding and inflicting losses in manpower and equipment.

Ukrainian troops repelled more than ten attacks there over the past day, while Russians have also tried to move south of Hlyboke and Lukiantsi during the day, according to Ukraine military sources on Telegram.

It comes after Russian forces invaded from its international border to the north of Ukraine, in one of the most significant ground attacks since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The attack was some miles away from the frontline to the east where Russia has been making steady advances over the last six months.

Vovchansk, located 74km (45 miles) to the north of Kharkiv, has faced heavy bombardment since the offensive, with thousands of civilians feeling south towards Kharkiv.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) assessment is that Russia is “almost certainly attempting to divert Ukrainian resources away from other parts of the front line”,but adds: “It is unlikely that Russia has built up sufficient combat power to take the city (Kharkiv) without diverting additional forces into the area.”

Speaking to Sky News, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “It is a fact that the delay in sending additional aid, and the US congress was slow on this, has left a hiatus in which, for example, Putin has tried to move towards Kharkiv Ukraine’s second largest city,” but added: “I am actually confident Ukraine will be able to ultimately repel that, although there’s a few difficult weeks ahead”.

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