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Ukraine says it has slowed Russian advance in Kharkiv region

Photo: Roman Pilipey Agence France-Presse Kharkiv residents try to avoid debris littering the ground after a Russian missile strike.

Barbara Wojazer – Agence France-Presse in Kharkiv

Posted at 8:24 a.m.

  • Europe

Ukraine affirmed on Thursday that it was slowing down the Russian military advance in the north-east of the country, where the situation remains “extremely difficult” according to President Volodymyr Zelensky, Moscow having launched an offensive there which allowed to reap its greatest territorial gains since the end of 2022.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Igor Klymenko accused the Russian army of executions of civilians in the town of Vovchansk in the Kharkiv region, which has been facing for a week an assault by Russian troops who have conquered, according to AFP estimates, nearly 260 km2.

< p>President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the city of Kharkiv, the regional capital and second city of the country, on Thursday and gathered his military cabinet there.

“To date, the situation in the Kharkiv region is generally under control, our military is inflicting significant losses on the occupier,” Zelensky said. “But the area remains extremely difficult, which is why we are strengthening our units,” he added.

Minister Klymenko accused Russia of to arbitrary detentions and executions of civilians in Vovchansk, a town of 18,000 inhabitants before the war.

“The Russian soldiers, who are trying to gain a foothold in the town, did not allow residents to evacuate: they began to kidnap people and take them to cellars,” he said, citing information on “the first executions by bullets of civilians” by the Russian army.

Stabilization in certain sectors

“A resident of Vovchansk tried to escape on foot, refusing to follow the invaders’ orders. He was killed by the Russians,” said the minister, who indicated that an investigation had been opened for “war crimes”.

AFP does not is unable to confirm these accusations from an independent source. Russia did not immediately react.

Russian forces have been accused of numerous documented abuses in Ukraine, in particular the massacre of hundreds of civilians in Bucha , a suburb of kyiv that they occupied at the start of their invasion in 2022.

Russia launched a new land offensive against the Kharkiv region last week, penetrating from the north into two border sectors, those of Vovtchansk and Lukiantsi, a locality located around thirty kilometers from the city of Kharkiv.

Between May 9 and 15, the Russians conquered 257 km2 in the Kharkiv region alone, according to an AFP analysis Thursday based on data provided by the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

In addition, 21 km2 were occupied in other areas of the front, according to the same source. In the south, Russia is notably demanding the recapture of the symbolic village of Robotyné, which Kiev denies. preserve the lives of soldiers, claiming Thursday to have managed to stop Russian advances in “certain” sectors.

“Our defense forces managed to partially stabilize the situation, the enemy's advance in certain areas and localities was stopped,” Nazar Volochyn, spokesperson for the Ukrainian forces in the region, said.< /p>

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Evacuations of civilians

According to regional governor Oleg Synegoubov, 8,779 people have been evacuated from this area in recent days . One person was killed and around fifteen others injured in various bombings.

In the city of Kharkiv on Thursday, people evacuated from Vovchansk continue to arrive at a humanitarian center.

Among them, Nadia Borodina, 85, traditional red scarf on her head, her dog Vassik on a leash and her cat Lucas, scared, in a plastic bag. She waited three days to be evacuated, with little food and no means of communication.

“The soldiers arrived and shouted “Let’s go, let’s go!” y!” and we left in five minutes,” the old lady told AFP. “I lived through World War II! But today it’s even scarier! “.

The Russian assault exploits the weakening of the Ukrainian forces in recent months, kyiv being short of men, but also of weapons and ammunition to cause of delays in Western military aid.

Russia, on the contrary, has recruited soldiers with all its might and reoriented its economy towards the military industry.

Vladimir Putin, visiting China on Thursday, was congratulated the day before the advances of his army in Ukraine during a meeting broadcast on television with high-ranking officers and his new Minister of Defense, Andreï Beloussov.

“Since the beginning of the year, our troops have been constantly improving their positions in all directions every day,” he said.

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