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Ukraine: Russia launched a ground offensive in the Kharkiv region

Russia has launched Friday a ground offensive in the Kharkiv region, in northeastern Ukraine, and attempted to attack to "break through the lines of defense", announced The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said fighting was continuing.

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

While the scale of this new Russian operation is not yet clear, Ukraine has been fearing an attack in the region for weeks.

According to a high-ranking source in the Ukrainian military command, Moscow wants to create a “buffer zone” in the regions of Kharkiv and Sumy to prevent kyiv from striking the region of Belgorod, in Russia, which is very regularly targeted.

Ukraine: Russia launched a ground offensive in the Kharkiv region

Firefighters fight a fire after a Russian drone attack on an industrial site in Kharkiv, May 4, 2024 in Ukraine © AFP – SERGEY BOBOK

“Over the past day, the enemy carried out airstrikes in the Vovchansk sector”, bordering the Russian region of Belgorod, with guided aerial bombs, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Friday.< /p>

“Around 5:00 a.m., the enemy tried to break through our defense lines using armored vehicles”, added this same source, without specifying the exact location of this attack.

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

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russia launched “a new wave of counter-offensive actions” in the Kharkiv region, while assuring that its general staff “knew it” and had “responded to the enemy with fire”.

– Evacuations of civilians –

The local governor, Oleg Synegoubov, maintained Friday after – noon that “all offensive actions” had been repulsed and that there was “no loss of territory”.

He nevertheless affirmed, during an interview broadcast on national television, that “active fighting” was taking place “1 or 2 kilometers” from the Russian border.

A civilian was killed and five others wounded in Vovchansk during strikes during the morning, he said earlier on Telegram, adding that another civilian was killed during a strike in the town of Cherkaski Tychky, north of Kharkiv.< /p>

Ukraine: Russia launched a ground offensive in the Kharkiv region

Russia launches offensive in Kharkiv region © AFP – Thierno TOURE, Valentin RAKOVSKY

The region, whose capital is Kharkiv, the country's second city, remains a major objective for the Kremlin.

It 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.

< p>Evacuations of civilians have been ordered around Vovtchansk, a local official told Ukrainian media Hromadske Radio. According to him, intense shooting hit this city which has 3,000 inhabitants.

– Border villages –

The Ukrainian media Ukrainskaya Pravda, citing anonymous military sources, said Friday afternoon that fighting was taking place in the towns of Striletche, Borysivka, Pylna and Krasne, bordering Russia, as well as in Gatyshche and Pletenivka.

Ukraine: Russia launched a ground offensive in the Kharkiv region

Ukrainian police officers near a car destroyed by a Russian strike in Zlochiv, Kharkiv region, May 1, 2024 © AFP – SERGEY BOBOK

The Ukrainian military channel DeepState claimed on Telegram that the enemy has “activated” operations in this sector, but that its troops would not allow “deep penetration”.

According to the Rybar Telegram channel, close to the Moscow army, Russian units carried out strikes to “reduce Ukrainian defense capabilities” and “advanced” combat groups began to “cleanse” the area.< /p>

By midday, Rybar's experts estimated that it was not, for the moment, a large-scale offensive, but rather a ” reconnaissance operation carried out successfully”.

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

Washington validated, at the end of April, an envelope of 61 billion dollars in aid, to the great relief of kyiv, but it will be necessary to wait some time for this assistance to materialize on the battlefield.

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

They seek in particular to seize the strategic town of Chassiv Iar, in the Donetsk region (east). The Ukrainian prosecutor's office indicated that two civilians were injured there on Friday during a Russian bombing.

According to the same source, two civilians were also killed by a Russian bombing strike. enemy artillery in the village of Yelyzavetivka, near the town of Pokrovsk, still in the Donetsk region.

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

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

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