In what could be an effective announcement of withdrawal, Russia's defense ministry says its troops will be regrouped from a key strategic area in eastern Ukraine amid fierce counter-offensives by Ukrainian forces.
The ministry announced on Saturday that Russian troops will be regrouped from Izyum areas in the Kharkiv region to strengthen operations in the Donetsk region.
A senior member of a pro-Russian separatist group in Izyum said that shelling by Ukrainians have made the situation extremely dire.
The group has reportedly recommended that local residents evacuate to Russia.
Ukraine's security service said on Saturday that Ukrainian troops had retaken control of Kupiansk in the Kharkiv region, which lies on Russia's supply routes to the Donbas frontline.
On the same day, Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine's presidential office, posted photos on social media showing Ukrainian forces outside Izyum, about 60 kilometers south of Kupiansk.
Izyum is believed to be an important base for Russia to deploy and deliver supplies to its troops in the Donbas region. If Ukraine retakes control of Izyum, it will likely deal a significant blow to Russia.
Ukrainian forces launched counter-offensives in the southern regions, including Kherson, in late August, using weapons provided by Western nations.
They started fighting back in Kharkiv and other eastern regions earlier this month in a bid to retake areas seized by Russian forces.