In his nightly televised address, video of which was posted shortly after the accident, Zelensky said he had just returned from the area around Kharkiv, adding that "almost the entire region is de-occupied" after a lightning counteroffensive to dislodge Russian troops.

"It was an unprecedented movement of our soldiers -- the Ukrainians once again managed to do what many thought was impossible," Zelensky said.

The war in Ukraine is entering a decisive phase, with Kyiv's forces expelling Russian troops from swathes of the east, appearing to seriously challenge the Kremlin's ambition to capture the entire Donbas region.

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