(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s top military officer said Kyiv’s forces largely halted a Russian incursion in the northeast even as the Kremlin hit the city of Kharkiv with a missile attack that killed at least seven people. 

Two weeks after Russian troops poured over the border north of Kharkiv to open a fresh front, the advance has ground to a halt for now in the town of Vovchansk less than 10 kilometers (6 miles) south of the frontier, and in Lyptsi to the southwest, Oleksandr Syrskyi said on Thursday. 

“After the first insignificant successes in the course of offensive actions in the Kharkiv region, the enemy is now fully bogged down in street fighting for Vovchansk,” Syrskyi said in a post of Facebook. 

The comments signaled progress for Ukrainian troops in staving off a fresh offensive that authorities say is aimed at sapping Kyiv’s military strength across the front line, as Russian forces intensified their assaults in Ukraine’s east. A series of missile strikes early Thursday on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, struck a book-printing facility and damaged rail infrastructure. 

DeepState, a map service maintained in cooperation with Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, showed no significant advance of Kremlin troops as part of the Kharkiv offensive since Monday. Syrskyi said the Russian military command is dispatching reserves to support the local offensive, but to no avail. 

Russia’s Defense Ministry said units had repelled two counterattacks by Ukrainians in Vovchansk and Hlyboke to the west, the two main areas where Russian troops are seeking to penetrate deeper into Ukrainian territory. 

Read More: Russia Advances Near Chasiv Yar as Ukraine Bolsters Kharkiv

But as the Kremlin has gained momentum by exploiting its advantage over Ukraine’s ammunition supplies and manpower, fighting in the eastern region of Donetsk has intensified as Russia seeks to pierce defenses. Moscow’s forces pressed forward near the strategically positioned settlement of Chasiv Yar, which they aim to capture “at all costs,” Syrskyi said. 

In Kharkiv, residents have struggled under nearly daily bombardment by Vladimir Putin’s forces in recent months, as the city’s proximity to the border allows Russian forces to use a wider assortment of weapons, including air-defense missiles and guided bombs. 

Russian forces hit Kharkiv and the nearby town of Lyubotyn with 15 simultaneous missile strikes, regional governor Oleh Synehubov said on Telegram. In addition to fatalities, as least 17 were injured, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said on Telegram. 

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has increasingly called on the US to allow his military to hit targets inside Russian territory with Western weapons, arguing that such capability would have prevented the Kharkiv offensive and improved protection for the city and beyond. 

--With assistance from Kateryna Chursina and Vladimir Kuznetsov.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.