Russia keeps hitting Kharkiv ahead of key talks involving Volodymyr Zelensky, Recep Erdogan, Antonio Guterres

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Aug. 18 (UPI) — Russia renewed military attacks in Kharkiv in northern Ukraine on Thursday ahead of talks between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Russian forces have been fighting in Ukrainian-controlled Kharkiv, which is the country’s second-largest city, since the start of the war in February. Moscow, however, has seen only limited success there.

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In the new round of shelling in the city Thursday, Ukrainian officials said that at least one person was killed and more than a dozen people were injured.

The new attacks in Kharkiv follows an assault by Russian forces on Wednesday that killed at least seven people in the city, Ukrainian officials noted.

The attacks have prompted Zelensky to say that Ukraine’s forces “will take revenge” for the shelling and loss of life, according to The Guardian.

Meanwhile, Zelensky will host both Guterres and Erdogan in Kyiv where the leaders are expected to address more Ukrainian grain exports — which finally resumed this month — as well as the fighting near the vulnerable Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine and finding a diplomatic solution to end the bloodshed, which is nearing the start of its seventh month.

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Fighting near the Zaporizhzhia plant, which Russia captured at the start of its invasion of Ukraine, has been the subject of international concern recently. Both Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for putting the plant at risk.

Elsewhere, Ukraine’s operational command said on Thursday that it killed 29 Russian “occupiers” during counterattacks in southern Ukraine. It also destroyed artillery, armored vehicles and a military supply depot, command officials said.

Ukrainian commanders said that troops turned back Russian forces along the eastern Donetsk front, leaving much of the fighting there at a stalemate.

“[Russia] led an offensive in the Mykolaivka-Vyimka direction, was unsuccessful, withdrew,” Ukraine’s General Staff said of the Russian advance, according to CNN.

Russia is also continuing intense shelling in the eastern town of Bakhmut, but Ukraine officials say it’s not captured any new territory.

Moscow, meanwhile, continued to hold a defensive position around Russian-controlled Kherson to keep territorial gains and repel an anticipated Ukrainian offensive there.