Some return to hard-hit Kharkiv after Ukraine's counteroffensive

Residents are slowly returning to some parts of the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv. This comes in the wake of Ukraine's counteroffensive there.

Kharkiv has been under heavy bombardment since Russia's invasion began.

Eastern parts of Kharkiv City have been hit especially hard. Buildings there have been destroyed, and charred vehicles can be seen along the roads.

Russian troops are still carrying out attacks in the region. But the assaults have become less frequent, since Ukraine's forces launched a counteroffensive earlier this month. The forces recaptured most of the region.

Many shops in the city remain closed, but a few restaurants have reopened.
A resident told NHK that the city has become calmer, as the Russians have been staging fewer attacks. She said she can now sleep better.

Another person, who had just returned from Kyiv, said Kharkiv has changed. He said the train on the way back was packed with young people making their way home.

On the other hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters on Friday that the Ukrainian army's counteroffensive will not change Russia's plans.

Putin also said Russia has only been using its contract army. He said that army is only part of the country's military force.

Observers say Putin is trying to convince people that Russia is not running short of military personnel.