Ukraine says it has recaptured its towns from Russia in the east, but it's a different story in the Russian-occupied region of Kherson in the south. The Russian-controlled administration there says it plans to ask for annexation reports International media.
Ukrainian military officers say their units around Kharkiv launched a counteroffensive, managing to drive Russian troops out of a cluster of towns.
Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said, "In this first stage of the war, Ukrainian forces have inflicted an absolute blow to the enemy, and the first stage concluded with a victory."
But Russian troops are making a push to control areas in the south. They are shelling what little remains of a Ukrainian bastion -- the steel plant in Mariupol.
Those defending the site have shared images of the wounded and have issued another plea for help.
He added, "Many people came from places where all lives and property are devastated. We will do our best to support them."
The Russians want to cut off access as they take hold of territory around the Black Sea. Pro-Russian officials had already gained control of the Kherson region.
They say they plan to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin to incorporate the region into Russia by the end of the year.
Ukrainian officials say they will "liberate" Kherson, no matter what.
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