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Russia launched a ground offensive in the Kharkiv region

Photo: Ukrainian National Police via Agence France-Presse Ukrainian emergency services workers attempt to extinguish a fire that destroyed private residences in Kharkiv.

France Media Agency to kyiv

Published at 9:27 a.m.

  • Europe

Russia launched a ground offensive in northeastern Ukraine's Kharkiv region on Friday and attempted to “break through the defense lines”, Ukraine's Defense Ministry said , claiming that fighting continued.

This area had not been the target of such attacks since the withdrawal of Kremlin troops from almost the entire region of Kharkiv, facing a Ukrainian counter-offensive in the fall of 2022.

“Over the past day, the enemy carried out airstrikes in the Vovchansk sector,” bordering Russia’s Belgorod region, with guided aerial bombs, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said.

“Around 5 a.m., the enemy tried to break through our defense lines using armored vehicles,” added this same source, without clarifying the exact location of this attack.

The ministry assured that these attacks had been “repulsed” but that “fighting of varying intensities” continued and that “reserve units” had been deployed to “strengthen the defense” of the area.

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a “fierce battle” is still underway there.

“Russia has launched a new wave of counter-offensive actions in this direction,” he said at a press conference, while assuring that his general staff “knew it” and had “responded at the enemy with fire.”

One civilian was killed and five others injured in Vovchansk during strikes during the morning, the regional governor said, adding that Another civilian was killed during a strike in the town of Cherkaski Tychky, north of Kharkiv.

“Buffer zone”

Located in the northeast of Ukraine, the region, whose capital is Kharkiv, the country's second city, remains a major objective for the Kremlin.

Moscow forces “have gone a kilometer into Ukrainian territory” and are trying to advance up to “ten kilometers,” a senior source said on Friday in the Ukrainian military command.

Russia is seeking to create a “buffer zone” to prevent Ukraine from striking Russia's regularly targeted Belgorod region, she added.

The The Kharkiv region has been very often bombed in recent months, particularly its energy infrastructure, and Ukraine has been worried for several weeks about a potential new Russian offensive in the area.

Evacuations of civilians have been ordered around Vovchansk, said a local official.

“The city (of Vovchansk) is currently under bombardment massive. Residents had not seen such strikes before,” he told Ukrainian media Hromadske Radio.

According to him, the shooting has intensified since 3 o'clock in the morning in this city which has 3000 inhabitants.

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Destabilizing the border

Ukrainian military channel DeepState claims on Telegram that the enemy has “activated” the operations in the area and tries to enter the border towns of Striletcha, Krasne, Pylna, Borysivka, Guatyshche and Pletenivka.

“The resources mobilized by the enemy do not allow “not for the moment a deep penetration”, assured this source, estimating that the operation aimed to “destabilize” the border.

According to the Rybar Telegram channel, close to the Moscow army, Russian units stationed in their country carried out strikes to “reduce Ukrainian defense capabilities” and “advanced” combat groups began to “cleanse” the area .

Rybar experts estimate that the combat zone has been “extended to a depth of two to three kilometers in some places” and that it is not not, for the moment, a large-scale offensive, but rather a “successfully carried out reconnaissance operation”.

The Ukrainian army is the struggle on the front, weakened by a lack of recruits and delays in the delivery of Western aid, which notably emptied its ammunition stocks.

At the end of April, Washington validated a package of $61 billion in aid, to the great relief of kyiv, but it will take some time for this assistance to materialize on the battlefield.

Opposite, Russian forces claimed limited territorial gains, mainly in the east, at the cost of heavy human losses, but without achieving any real breakthroughs.

Russia, which benefits from more men, weapons and a more powerful defense industry, regained the initiative after the failure of the Ukrainian offensive in the summer of 2023.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116