Tuesday briefing: How Russia’s advance on Kharkiv might end

In today’s newsletter: A major new attack on territory known for Kyiv’s biggest victory has led to a sense of Ukraine’s prospects viciously unravelling, town by town

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Good morning. In September 2022, Kharkiv province was the site of the greatest Ukrainian victory of the war so far: the lightning counteroffensive that liberated at least 12,000 square kilometres from Russian control, pushed Moscow’s artillery out of range of Kharkiv city and provided real hope that Vladimir Putin could not just be slowed down, but defeated.

Over the past few days, Kharkiv has been the location of a very different shift. This time, it is the Russians who have made larger daily advances than at almost any other point in the war, and are now moving further forwards. Civilians who had come home are fleeing once more in their thousands, and even Kyiv admits that the situation is “difficult”. Further attacks could draw sparse Ukrainian resources from along the frontline, deal a heavy blow to Ukrainian morale and redraw the map before the resources belatedly provided by the US last month are in place to do anything about it.

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