UKRAINE, May 3 — According to Ukrainian intelligence services, Russia has a plan to capture Kharkiv and Sumy, said Lieutenant General Oleksandr Pavliuk, Commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, in the interview with The Times.

At the same time, Pavliuk says that, although intelligence knows about the existence of the plan, “we don’t know how serious those plans are, nor if they are capable of realising them with the forces they have at their disposal.”

Pavliuk also added that Russians are planning to seize the Zaporizhzhia region, but Ukrainian troops will do everything to prevent this scenario. To do so, Ukraine needs weapons, the Commander emphasized.

Major General Vadym Skibitskyi said in an interview with The Economist published on May 2 that Russia is preparing for an offensive around the Kharkiv and Sumy regions in the northeast. According to him, the timing of the Russian offensive depends on the “strength of the Ukrainian defense” in the Donetsk region. However, he believes Russia’s main offensive will begin in “late May or early June.” 

As noted by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksandr Syrskyi, the Ukrainian military is monitoring the build-up and regrouping of Russian troops in the Kharkiv direction. “In the most threatening areas, our troops have been reinforced with artillery and tank units,” Syrskyi wrote.

The American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) estimates that the Russian military lacks the forces necessary to capture Kharkiv. At the same time, the Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov noted that the Russian army is building up troops north of the Kharkiv region as planned, but the pace of manpower and equipment build-up has not changed in 10 months.

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