UKRAINE, May 2 — Ukrainian troops fought off 12 Russian attacks on the Kupiansk axis, reported General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in their morning briefing. 

Combat clashes happened nearby Novoiehorivka, Synkivka, Petropavlivka, Kyslivka, and Berestove of Kharkiv oblast and near Stelmakhivka in Luhansk oblast. 

Russians want to seize Kupiansk and Kupiansk-Vyzlovyi on this axis, both important logistics hubs for both Kharkiv and Luhansk oblasts, both that have already been occupied by Russia in 2022. Advancing on Kupiansk axis and taking the city will give Russians opportunities to streamline their military supply efforts. 

In the Slobozhanskyi direction, Russians maintain a military presence in the borderlands and conduct diversions to keep the Ukrainian troops focused on them and prevent their relocations to other axes. 

Russia hit Dehachi, Lyptsi, and Rublene of Kharkiv oblast with air strikes over the past day. Over 120 communities of Chernihiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, and Mykolaiv oblasts came under Russian artillery fire. 

Vadym Skibitskyi, deputy head of the Main Military Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine (HUR), said in an interview with Economist that Russia will likely start an offensive in Kharkiv and Sumy oblasts at the end of May or at the start of June. He assesses they will be able to achieve only localized gains, unable to take Kharkiv or Sumy. 

On April 29, Oleh Syniehubov, Kharkiv Oblast Governor, said, that the Russian army is building up troops in the north of the Kharkiv region, but the pace of manpower and equipment buildup hasn’t changed for ten months. Skibitskyi says, currently, 35,000 Russian troops are concentrated north of the region, and, for an offensive on Kharkiv that Russia is planning, they’ll need another 15,000-35,000 troops there.

UPD from May 3, 2:33 p.m.: Skibitskyi said the time of the “main push” for assault on Sumy and Kharkiv region will be at the end of May—June of 2024, not July.

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