KHARKIV OBLAST, UKRAINE, MAR 19 — Despite not capturing Kupiansk before the Russian elections, Russian troops persist in their attempts to advance in the area and don’t abandon their goal to occupy the town, reported Ivan Shevtsov, the spokesman of a Steel Border brigade, during the national telethon. 

Shevtsov said Russians had a deadline of March 15 to capture Kupiansk, Kupiansk-Vyzlovyi and move on to the left bank of the Oskil River to show ‘results’ before presidential elections in the Russian Federation. 

He added that, even though they haven’t had confirmed advances there, Russians still intend to occupy Kupiansk, keeping 100,000 troops and a lot of military equipment in the Lyman-Kupiansk direction. Shevtsov said that Steel Border [Stalevyi Kordon — ed.] stopped two attempts of Russian sabotage and reconnaissance groups to break through Ukrainian defense in this frontline section. 

The situation in Kupiansk now 

On February 20, Oleh Syniehubov, governor of the Kharkiv region, reported that Russian troops intensified shelling of the borderline districts of the Kharkiv Oblast and kept conducting assaults on the positions of Ukrainian defenders on the Kupiansk axis. He said they’re trying to capture advantageous heights and occupy Kupiansk, a vital logistical hub for the region. Ukrainian soldiers repel Russian attacks and hold their positions. 

On March 7, the Defence Council in the Kharkiv region approved the forced evacuation of children with parents or guardians for 18 settlements of territorial communities of Velykyi Burluk and Vilhuvatka in the Kupiansk district. 

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  • ISW reports ongoing positional fighting on the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, with no confirmed changes to the frontline.