Russia Launches Ground Offensive in Ukraine's Kharkiv Region

Russian forces launch cross-border offensive in Ukraine's Kharkiv region, prompting evacuation of over 4,000 residents. Ukraine's forces are on defensive as Russia widens ground assault, taking 100sq km of territory in northeast.

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Russia Launches Ground Offensive in Ukraine's Kharkiv Region

Russia Launches Ground Offensive in Ukraine's Kharkiv Region

Russian forces have launched a cross-border offensive in Ukraine's Kharkiv region, prompting the evacuation of over 4,000 residents from settlements near the Russian border. The head of the Kharkiv Military Administration, Oleg Synegubov, announced the evacuations on Telegram on May 13, 2024, citing intensified hostilities in the area.

Why this matters: The escalation of violence in the Kharkiv region has significant implications for the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, potentially drawing in more international involvement and affecting regional stability. The humanitarian toll of the conflict will likely worsen, with thousands more displaced and an uncertain future ahead for those affected.

Russia has widened its ground assault in the region, attacking new areas to expand the front and stretch Ukraine's forces. Governor Synegubov reported that about 5,700 people have been evacuated from in and around Vovchansk, with 300 remaining residents urged to leave. "The enemy is trying to deliberately stretch it [the front line], attacking in small groups but in new directions, so to speak," Synegubov said, describing the situation as difficult.

The Ukrainian army acknowledged that Russia is "achieving tactical success" in the region, with Moscow's troops entering Ukraine near Kharkiv city, opening a northeastern front in the war. Russia has taken territory of about 100sq km (39sq miles) in the northeast, according to the DeepState Telegram channel. Ukraine's forces are on the defensive due to a slowdown in Western military aid, leaving Russia with an advantage in manpower and munitions.

Sergiy Kryvetchenko, deputy head of the Ukrainian military administration in Lyptsi, described the intense shelling and bombardment by Russian forces. "They are shelling the villages, firing everything they can," Kryvetchenko said. "The KABs [guided aerial bombs] are flying. The artillery is flying. Drones. Everything."

Ukraine appointed Brigadier General Mykhailo Drapatyi to take command of the Kharkiv front on Saturday. Russia has been pushing in several directions, including near Vovchansk and towards the village of Lyptsi. The situation in Kharkiv is "complex and dynamically changing" as Russian troops mount assaults in various areas.

The war between Russia and Ukraine has been ongoing for almost two years, with the conflict largely fought in the east and south. The Russian advance in Kharkiv could draw some of Kyiv's depleted forces away from the east, where Russia has been slowly advancing. As fierce fighting continues in the Kharkiv region, the humanitarian toll mounts, with thousands forced to flee their homes and an uncertain future ahead.

Key Takeaways

  • Russia launches cross-border offensive in Ukraine's Kharkiv region.
  • Over 4,000 residents evacuated from settlements near Russian border.
  • Russia widens ground assault, attacking new areas to expand front.
  • Ukraine's forces on defensive due to slowdown in Western military aid.
  • Humanitarian toll mounts, with thousands forced to flee their homes.