KHARKIV OBLAST, UKRAINE, May 8 — Over the past day, the Russian army tried to advance 16 times in the Kupiansk direction. Russians attacked Synkivka, Pishchane, and Berestove in the Kharkiv Oblast, reported the General Staff in a morning briefing.

Also, over the past day, the Russian army hit Dvorichanske and Synkivka in the Kharkiv region with airstrikes. 

Russians are not abandoning their goal of occupying Kupiansk, a city in the Kharkiv region, again. It is a logistics and railway hub between Kharkiv and Luhansk oblasts, and seizing it would allow the Russian army to boost its supply efforts. 

As General Staff informed, in the Slobozhanskyi direction, in the border areas, the Russian military conducts intense sabotage activities to prevent the deployment of Ukrainian troops to more dangerous directions and increases the density of minefields along the state border in the Belgorod Oblast.

Deputy chief of Ukrainian military intelligence agency Vadym Skibitskyi said in an interview with Economist, published on May 2, that Russian troops are preparing for an assault on the Kharkiv and Sumy regions, presumably at the end of May or in June 2024. According to him, the timing of the Russian offensive depends on the “strength of the Ukrainian defense” in the Donetsk region.

According to Skibitskyi, currently, Russians have 35,000 troops in their northern grouping “across from Kharkiv” and 514,000 land troops “committed to Ukraine operation” in general. For an assault, Skibitskyi says the grouping “is set to expand to between 50,000 and 70,000 troops.” However, even 70,000 Russian troops are “not enough,” in Skibitskyi’s opinion, to take a major city like Kharkiv. 

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