Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday praised his country's special forces for "heroically carrying out their military duties" in a new televised address, Daily Mail reported.
Putin gave his "special gratitude" for troops involved in the "special operation to provide assistance to the people's republics of Donbas" - a reference to the Kremlin's propaganda line that it intervened in Ukraine to help pro-Russian separatists who were at risk of 'genocide' at the hands of the legitimate government, the report said.
Putin spoke to mark the annual day of Special Operations Forces (SOF), as his huge forces appeared to be stepping up their battle to crush Ukrainian resistance amid mounting Russian losses.
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The Kremlin has so far not declared any fatalities from the fighting, although the head of the Dagestan regional government recently offered his condolences to the family of a slain paratrooper in what may have been a case of going off script.
Russian forces on Sunday entered Ukraine's second largest city of Kharkiv after failing in their overnight efforts to seize control of the capital city of Kyiv - as Ukraine's President said his country were ready for peace talks.
Footage shared on social media Sunday morning showed Russian's army trucks rolling through the city of 1.41 million people, which sits in Eastern Ukraine close to the border with Russia, Daily Mail reported.
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Soldiers were also seen marching through Kharkiv on foot, with a very dramatic clip showing Russians slowly advancing along a road before running and firing their guns as Ukrainians opened fire on them.
Another clip shared online shows an army vehicle said to belong to the Russians ablaze, with locals saying it had been torched by Ukrainians seeking to defend their city, the report said.