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Russia continues attacks in the border area

Russia is trying to advance further in the border area near Kharkiv. According to experts, the offensive is not yet an advance on the megacity. Rather, Moscow wants to establish a buffer zone in the region.

According to the General Staff, the Ukrainian army continues to defend itself against a Russian offensive in the border area near the megacity of Kharkiv. The military reported new fighting on this section of the front in the morning.

It was generally stated that the Russian advances had been repelled. This information cannot be independently verified. “The enemy is using ground troops and technology,” said a statement from the General Staff on Friday evening.

The Ukrainian military has been reporting Russian advances on two broad sectors of the front since Friday. The offensive was expected because the Russian army has massed tens of thousands of soldiers near the border. President Vladimir Putin had also threatened an offensive in March.

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Ukrainian and Russian military observers as well as foreign experts assume that the attack is not yet aimed at the city of Kharkiv. According to a senior Ukrainian military official, the Russian army's goal is to establish a buffer zone in the Kharkiv and Sumy regions to prevent the Ukrainian military from further shelling the Belgorod region on the Russian side.

The Institute for War Studies ISW in the USA also assumes “limited operational objectives”. The attacks were intended to push Ukrainian forces away from the border; The advance was intended to bring Kharkiv back into range of Russian artillery.

The strategic goal is to force the Ukrainians to withdraw soldiers and material from other beleaguered sections of the front in the east. The limited deployment does not suggest “that Russian forces are conducting a large-scale offensive operation to encircle, encircle or capture Kharkiv,” the ISW wrote.

Evacuations of more than a thousand people

The Russian offensive is moving the front closer to other Ukrainian villages and cities. According to authorities, more than a thousand people have been evacuated from areas near the border in the Kharkiv region. A total of 1,775 people were brought to safety, said regional governor Oleh Synegubow. According to him, 30 towns were affected by Russian artillery and mortar attacks in the past 24 hours.

Residents of the city of Vovchansk are waiting to be evacuated.

According to reports from the front, the attack has two directions. On a section of the border about 30 kilometers north of Kharkiv, Russian troops occupied several Ukrainian villages. According to consistent information, they were in a kind of gray zone in front of the front Ukrainian defense. The Ukrainian General Staff named the village of Lipzy as the thrust of this attack.

The second attack targeted the town of Vovchansk, about 40 kilometers northeast of Kharkiv. There, too, several small towns along the border were occupied. In the Vovchansk case, experts see more of a Russian intention to disrupt Ukraine's supply lines in the direction of Kupyansk.

According to Russian information, Ukraine defended itself by attacking the Russian border region of Belgorod with rocket artillery and drones during the night. Missile alarms were also triggered temporarily in Belgorod in the morning. In Rowenki in the Russian-occupied Luhansk region, shelling caused a fire in a fuel depot.

Conflict parties as a source

In the current situation, information on the course of the war, shelling and casualties provided by official bodies of the Russian and Ukrainian parties to the conflict cannot be directly verified by an independent body.

USA does not expect any major breakthroughs

The US doubts that Moscow will make any major progress in the offensive. “We don't expect any major breakthroughs,” said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby. The US has “confidence” in the Ukrainian armed forces, Kirby explained. Washington expected the offensive.

Russia made appropriate preparations during the months-long impasse in the US Congress regarding new military aid. Meanwhile, the USA also announced further military aid for Ukraine worth $400 million (a good 370 million euros). The armaments to be delivered should come from stocks of the US Department of Defense – and therefore be available quickly.

Marc Dugge, ARD Kiev, tagesschau, May 11, 2024 5:58 a.m

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