Russians withdraw from Kharkiv, smash Ukraine's east

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised to stage the song competition in Mariupol . Zelenskyy said: Our spirit impresses the world, and our music brings joy to Europe .

Fresh off his country's Eurovision victory, defiant Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised early Sunday to stage the song competition in Mariupol, which is almost entirely in Russian hands, with the exception of a devoted group of a few hundred Ukrainian fighters who keep out in a steel factory.Zelenskyy said: Our spirit impresses the world, and our music brings joy to Europe.In the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly closing in on the country's second-largest city, the Azovstal steel plant, after bombarding it for weeks, and Russian forces are mainly in the process of relocating, according to Ukraine's Defense Ministry.The Nato region, which is located near the Polish border and is often used to target Russian forces, is now being fought by Russia, who has shifted its focus eastward, with the However, it seems to be a back-and-forth battle without significant breakthroughs on either side.Russia has captured some Donbas villages and towns, including Rubizhne, which had a prewar population of about 55,000, according to Zelenskyy.Ukraine's forces also made strides in the east, capturing six towns or villages in the same day.

The largely Russian-speaking city with a prewar population of 1.4 million was a key military goal earlier in the war, when Moscow wanted to capture and hold major cities, according to Regional Gov.Oleh Sinegubov, who said in the past that Ukraine launched a counteroffensive near Izyum, a city 125 kilometers (78 miles) south of Kharkiv that has been detained by Russia since at least the start of April.Officials in Sweden are due to announce their decision on Sunday about whether or not to join the Western military alliance.Putin told Finnish President Sauli Niinisto that joining NATO would be an inconsistency and would jeopardize Russian-Finnish relations.