Russia intensifies attacks on Ukraine’s Kharkiv region

Kyiv says Russian forces having ‘tactical success’ in assault on northeastern region on shared border.

Russia has widened its ground assault in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, attacking new areas to try to expand the front and stretch Ukraine’s forces, the region’s governor says.

“The enemy is trying to deliberately stretch it [the front line], attacking in small groups but in new directions, so to speak,” Governor Oleh Syniehubov said in televised comments on Monday.

“The situation is difficult,” he said, adding that about 5,700 people have been evacuated from in and around Vovchansk as he urged the town’s remaining residents, about 300 people, to leave.

On Friday, Moscow’s troops entered Ukraine near Kharkiv city, opening a northeastern front in a war that has for almost two years been largely fought in the east and south. The advance could draw some of Kyiv’s depleted forces away from the east, where Russia has been slowly advancing.

A day after the Russian offensive began, Ukraine appointed Brigadier General Mykhailo Drapatyi to take command of the Kharkiv front, media outlet RBC-Ukraine reported. He led the operations in 2022 that took back the right bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region from Russian forces.

In the northeast, Russia has been pushing in several directions, including near Vovchansk and also towards the village of Lyptsi,  Syniehubov added.

The DeepState Telegram channel, which is close to the Ukrainian army, said Russia had taken territory of about 100sq km (39sq miles).

The Ukrainian army acknowledged that Russia was “achieving tactical success”.

The situation in Kharkiv is “complex and dynamically changing” as Russian troops mount assaults in various areas, the army said in a statement.

Kyiv is on the defensive after a months-long slowdown in supplies of Western, especially American, military aid that has left Russia with an even greater advantage in manpower and munitions.

Ukraine’s forces have been managing to hold Moscow’s troops back, but a real threat that the fighting could spread to new settlements remains, Syniehubov warned.

Russia’s Ministry of Defence said its troops had “improved the tactical position and dealt a blow to [Ukrainian] manpower” around border villages, including Lyptsi and Vovchansk.

“They are shelling the villages, firing everything they can,” Sergiy Kryvetchenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian military administration in Lyptsi, told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

“The KABs [guided aerial bombs] are flying. The artillery is flying. Drones. Everything,” he added.

Residents from Vovchansk and nearby villages board a bus during an evacuation to Kharkiv due to Russian shelling, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, at an undisclosed location near the town of Vovchansk in Kharkiv region, Ukraine May 10, 2024. REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy
Residents from Vovchansk and nearby villages board a bus during an evacuation to Kharkiv due to Russian shelling] at an undisclosed location in the Kharkiv region [Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Reuters]
Source: News Agencies