UKRAINE, KHARKIV OBLAST, June 6 — The local authorities of the Zolochiv community called for a mandatory evacuation of children due to a possible Russian army offensive, said Viktor Kovalenko, head of the village military administration.

Towns and villages of the Kharkiv Oblast, especially border settlements, came under massive Russian artillery shelling and airstrikes since Russia launched a new ground offensive north and northeast of the region in the Vovchansk and Lyptsi directions on May 10. 

On May 26, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russians are preparing another new  offensive 90 kilometers from Kharkiv, in northwest of Kharkiv Oblast. Institute for the Study of War think tank wrote that Russians might attack in the directions of Zolochiv and Bohodukhiv.  

Local officials, police officers, and volunteers talked to all the Zolochiv community residents about the evacuation. Twelve people who had previously written applications to refuse evacuation changed their minds and moved out as well.

Viktor Kovalenko noted that all children had been evacuated from the border villages of Ivashky and Tymofiivka in the Zolochiv community, Kharkiv region. Currently, 140 people remain in Ivashky. From the village of Oleksandrivka, 46 out of 47 children were evacuated, and one child remained in Vidrodzhenivske.

“Zolochiv is one of the few communities in the north [of the Kharkiv region] that has not been occupied by the enemy, except for Makarove. Therefore, people do not believe anything bad can happen,” Kovalenko said.

Kovalenko, citing the Kharkiv region governor, said the situation on the border is no longer as dangerous as last week.

“A week ago, there was a large build-up [of troops] from the Russian Federation, and the situation was dangerous. But today, according to the military, the situation has improved… It is better to be prepared  [for a possible Russian offensive], to make conclusions, and to prevent a problem that could be [dangerous] for the population,” Kovalenko said.

The village head added that they plan to evacuate 1,740 people from the border districts of the Zolochiv community.

Evacuation is currently underway in the region. According to the Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov, police, volunteers, and rescuers evacuated about 11,629 people from the border communities of Kharkiv Oblast threatened by Russia’s new offensive. 

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