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Russia pushed into Ukraine north

After launching a complex offensive on Friday, Russian troops have poured across Ukraine’s northeastern border. At least nine villages have been seized, and Russia has taken more square miles per day than at almost any other point in the war.

Now, some Ukrainian troops are retreating, and some commanders have taken the unusual step of blaming each other. Thousands of civilians have fled to Kharkiv, about 20 miles from the border and the nearest big city to the villages. For now, it is safe — but approaching machine gun fire is increasingly audible, those on the ground say.

Gen. Oleksandr Syrsky, Ukraine’s top military commander, conceded that the situation had “significantly worsened.” But he said that Russian attempts to break through Ukrainian defensive lines had been unsuccessful so far.

Toll: Villagers in the Kherson region slowly rebuilt their lives after Ukraine pushed back Russia. Now residents are braced for a fresh assault.

In Russia: President Vladimir Putin moved Sergei Shoigu, his minister of defense, to a position running the national security council, the first shake-up for Putin’s national security team since the invasion began.

In Ukraine: Seaborne grain and oilseed exports are now approaching prewar levels, according to data shared with The Times.

A huge plume of black smoke rises from a cityscape.
Northern Gaza on Sunday. Amir Cohen/Reuters
Fighting raged in northern Gaza
The Israeli military has stepped up pressure on the southern city of Rafah, describing it as Hamas’s last stronghold in Gaza. But close-quarters ground combat between Hamas fighters and Israeli troops in Gaza City and nearby Jabaliya over the weekend was a reminder that the militants might remain a force for a long time to come.

It has become a familiar scenario over the seven-month war: Israel declares an area clear of Hamas, only to return after the militants rebuild their forces.

Military analysts said that Hamas has been able to reconstitute itself in some areas because Israel has declined to administer those territories itself, and has also declined to transfer them to non-Hamas Palestinian control.

U.S.: Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, said he was concerned that Israel’s failure to lay down a template for the governance of Gaza meant that its victories might not be “sustainable” and would be followed by “chaos, by anarchy and ultimately by Hamas again.”

Quotable: “I am deeply distressed by the fast-deteriorating conditions in Gaza,” the United Nations’ human rights chief, Volker Türk, said in a statement about the fighting in the north.

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