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Ukraine struggling in the northeast, Putin justifies his assault

Photo: Ukrainian emergency services via Agence France-Presse “The enemy began to destroy Vovchansk, using tanks and artillery. It’s not just dangerous to be there, it’s practically impossible,” explains the governor of the Kharkiv region, Oleg Synegubov.

Ania Tsoukanova – Agence France-Presse to kyiv

Posted at 4:13 p.m.

  • Europe

Ukraine said Friday that Russian forces were destroying the city of Vovchansk and continuing to advance into the northeastern Kharkiv region, where Moscow launched a new large-scale assault on May 10.

Russian President Vladimir Putin justified this offensive on Friday by claiming to respond to Ukrainian strikes in recent months on Russian territory, and want to create a buffer zone.

But Ukraine still launched, according to Moscow, around a hundred drone attacks against several Russian regions and the occupied Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, killing two people and leading to power outages and infrastructure fires.

Oleg Synegubov, the governor of the Kharkiv region, indicated in a briefing that the Ukrainian forces had so far failed to stop the adversary.

“The enemy began to destroy Vovchansk, using tanks and artillery. “It's not just dangerous to be there, it's virtually impossible,” he said.

Some 200 civilians remain there, according to the same source, while the town, located around fifty kilometers from Kharkiv, the regional capital, had some 18,000 inhabitants before the war.

The Russian army often ended up destroying Ukrainian cities to conquer them, like Bakhmut last year or Avdiïvka in February.

Advance of the enemy

A little further west, Russian forces have advanced on their second axis of assault in the region. They are targeting the village of Loukiantsi, to open the way to Lyptsi, another locality on the road to Kharkiv.

“Hostilities continue in Loukiantsi. Yes, there is an enemy advance in this locality. But our soldiers are still trying to hold it,” said the governor of the Kharkiv region.

For its part, the Russian army claimed the capture on Friday, a week, from twelve localities in the region and affirmed that his forces continued to advance.

In total, some 9,300 civilians were evacuated in the Kharkiv region. kyiv, however, accuses Moscow of using civilians as “human shields” in Vovchansk and of having committed at least one summary execution.

On May 10, Russia launched a surprise offensive from the north, extending the front at the very time when Ukraine was on the defensive in the East and South, against a backdrop of shortages of men and ammunition.

< p>Faced with its shortcomings, kyiv recently passed legislation to accelerate military mobilization. On Friday, President Volodymyr Zelensky also signed a law that allows prisoners to be recruited in exchange for parole.

But with increasingly extended defensive lines , and Russian attacks to the north, east and south, the risk of a Russian breakthrough is growing.

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  • Moscow claims progress on two fronts during Blinken's visit to kyiv

“Health zone”

Moscow made its largest territorial gains in one week since the end of 2022, with some 257 km2 conquered in the Kharkiv region alone, according to an AFP analysis on Thursday based on data provided by the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

< p>President Putin justified the attack on Friday by the need to create a buffer zone to prevent Ukrainian forces from striking the neighboring Russian region of Belgorod, even as kyiv bombs Russian territory in response to attacks that have beset Ukraine for more two years.

“I said publicly that if this continued, we would be forced to create a security zone, a health zone. This is what we are doing,” declared Mr. Putin, on the sidelines of a trip to China.

He denied aiming “at the present time” Kharkiv, the country's second city that the Russian army had failed to conquer in 2022. Putin had also denied planning an invasion of Ukraine.

Friday afternoon, this city, very regularly bombed, was hit by new Russian strikes which left at least three dead and 28 injured, according to a latest report provided by Mayor Igor Terekhov in the evening.

In Vovchansk, in the same region, Russian strikes killed a 35-year-old man and injured another 60-year-old, both civilians, according to the Regional Prosecutor's Office.

In Odessa, a port city in the south of the country also regularly hit, a Russian bombing left one dead and five injured hospitalized, according to local governor Oleg Kiper.

For his On the other hand, the Russian army said it faced around a hundred drones launched from Ukraine during the night from Thursday to Friday.

The governor of the region Belgorod Vyacheslav Gladkov reported the death of a mother and her four-year-old child in the village of Oktyabrsky. In the evening, he also announced the death of a man in the village of Novaya Naoumovka attacked by drones, and of one injured in hospital.

In the Krasnodar region (southwest), authorities claimed that two Ukrainian drones had set fire to a refinery in Tuapse. In this same region, “civilian infrastructure” was hit and caught fire in Novorossiysk, a Black Sea port.

In Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula annexed in 2014 by the Russia, the city of Sevastopol, headquarters of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea, was partly deprived of power because an electrical installation was damaged, according to local authorities.

Finally, during the day of Friday a woman was killed by a strike in the Russian region of Bryansk, according to the governor.

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