May 18, 2024

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Ukraine: Hundreds evacuated in Kharkiv region after Russian attack

Ukraine: Hundreds evacuated in Kharkiv region after Russian attack

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from areas near the Russian border in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, the regional governor said Saturday, a day after Russia launched a surprise cross-border ground offensive.

“A total of 1,775 people were evacuated,” Governor Oleg Sinekubov wrote on social media, adding that Russia had launched artillery and mortar attacks on 30 locations in the Ukrainian region in the past 24 hours.

Russian forces have made small advances along the border from which they were pushed back nearly two years ago. The Kharkiv region has been under Ukrainian control since September 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared “intense fighting” on the entire front line on Friday evening.

A senior Ukrainian military source said Russian forces had advanced a kilometer into Ukraine and were trying to create “a buffer zone” in the Kharkiv region and neighboring Sumy to prevent attacks on Russian territory.

Kiev officials have warned for weeks that Moscow could try to attack the northeastern border areas as Ukraine faces delays in Western aid and a shortage of fighters.

The Ukrainian military said it had sent more troops to the area, where Zelensky said Ukrainian forces were using artillery and drones to thwart Russian advances.

“Reserve units have been deployed to strengthen security in this part of the front,” the army said.

The Institute for Combat Research said on Friday that Russia had made “significant tactical gains” but said the operation’s main goal was to “attract Ukrainian manpower and equipment from other critical sectors of the front line.

The ISW said it did not appear to be a large-scale offensive aimed at encircling, encircling and capturing Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv.

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