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Russia reports capture of six villages

Russia has confirmed the start of the offensive near Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city. The Kremlin reported the capture of five villages near the border and one village in the Donetsk region. Ukraine is countering this with air strikes.

Since yesterday, Russian troops have been advancing in the Kharkiv region – Ukraine is talking about a large-scale military operation. The Kremlin had so far kept a low profile, but the Russian Ministry of Defense has now confirmed the offensive in the border area.

Russian troops have occupied five Ukrainian border villages, the authority said. These are the villages of Striletsche, Krasne, Pylne and Borysivka, which are located about 30 kilometers north of Kharkiv near the town of Lipzy, as well as Ohirtseve near the city of Vovchansk. In addition, the village of Keramik in the Donetsk region was brought under Russian control.

The information about the capture of the villages in the Kharkiv region corresponds to unofficial Ukrainian military information. However, there is no official confirmation from the Ukrainian government.

Russia claims to have captured 34 soldiers

The Russian army claims to have killed a large number of Ukrainian soldiers and destroyed their technology. There is no independent confirmation of this. The Kremlin also reported that 34 Ukrainian soldiers were captured.

Photos of allegedly captured Ukrainian soldiers were published on Russian Telegram channels; this is prohibited under international humanitarian law. The authenticity of the images and the exact number of prisoners cannot currently be verified.

Map of Ukraine, hatched: territories occupied by Russia

Massive attacks in more than 30 cities and villages

Russia is relying on massive artillery, mortar and air strikes in the region. More than 30 towns and villages were attacked today, according to Kharkiv Governor Oleh Syniehubov. At least three people were killed and five others were injured.

According to the governor, heavy fighting continues in the areas around Borysivka, Ohirtseve, Pylne and Oliinykove, but the situation is under control. There is no danger of a ground attack on the city of Kharkiv.

Ukraine is apparently relying on increased air strikes

The Ukrainian armed forces appear to be responding primarily with air strikes. The Russian Defense Ministry said “a flood of drones and missiles” were fired on Saturday night. Russian air defense systems shot down 21 missiles and 16 drones over the Belgorod, Kursk and Volgograd regions. One person died in a drone strike in the Belgorod region and another in the Kursk region, local officials said.

In another attack, an oil depot in the Russian-occupied Luhansk region of Ukraine was set on fire. Four people were killed and eight others injured, said Leonid Pasechnik, the region's administrator appointed by Moscow.

There was also shelling in the Russian-occupied Donetsk region. Three people died when an explosion rocked a restaurant, according to local Russian-appointed authorities. Eight other people were injured, including a child.

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.

Russia apparently wants Ukraine Troop relocation move

Ukrainian and Russian military observers as well as foreign experts assume that the Russian advance in the Kharkiv region is not yet aimed at the megacity itself. 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 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.

The Russian military could also try to cut off key supply routes and blockade Kharkiv, home to about 1.1 million people. The city is only about 30 kilometers from the current fighting.

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

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