Ukraine’s Zelenskyy postpones all foreign trips; Kyiv withdraws troops from Kharkiv

Zelenskyy postponed his foreign trips amid Russian troops advancement on Kharkiv

(File) Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky arrives to attend a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kyiv | Reuters (File) Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky arrives to attend a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kyiv | Reuters

As Russian troops advance towards Kharkiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday postponed all his foreign travel due to the worsening battle situation. 

The Russian infantry had entered the northeastern border of Vovchansk in Kharkiv region. Russia's advancement to Kharkiv is seen as one of the significant gains for the Kremlin lately. 

"The situation is extremely difficult. The enemy is taking positions on the streets of the town of Vovchansk," Oleksiy Kharkivskiy, Vovchansk's patrol police chief, said on Facebook. 

The Ukrainian military on Tuesday had said that the troops pulled back to "more advantageous" positions in two areas of the Kharkiv region, including the Vovchansk area. 

Sergiy Nykyforov, Zelenskyy's spokesperson confirmed that the president is postponing all the events scheduled for the coming days and the new dates will be coordinated accordingly. 

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has instructed that all international events scheduled for the coming days be postponed and new dates coordinated," Nykyforov wrote on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Dmytro Lazutkin, spokesman for the defence ministry, said "some" Russian infantry groups had entered the town, which military analysts reckon Moscow needs to capture to continue its offensive thrust in that direction.

The Russians were trying to regroup and dig in and had not taken any more "active" action on Wednesday, it added.

Around 8,000 civilians have been evacuated from Vovchansk amid worsening battle. 

China's peace plan

Ahead of Putin’s visit to China, Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview on Wednesday said he backed China's plan for peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis. 

Putin also added that Russia remained open to dialogue and talks to solve the conflict. 

The Ukraine peace plan was made public by President Xi last month. Putin said that China's plan took account of factors behind the conflict. 

"We are positive in our assessment of China's approach to solving the Ukrainian crisis," added Putin. "In Beijing, they truly understand its root causes and its global geopolitical meaning."

A 12-point paper put forward by Beijing over a year ago had set out general principles for ending the war. However, it did not get a very warm response from Russia and Ukraine. 

The additional principles by Xi include a call for "cooling down" of the situation. 

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