UKRAINE, May 23 — After first insignificant successes in the Russian offensive in Kharkiv Oblast, “the enemy stuck in the urban fighting for Vovchansk,” wrote Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief, Oleksandr Syrskyi, on his Facebook. Russians suffer huge personnel losses, Syrskyi said, and gather reserve troops from other directions to support their offensive, but “have no success.” 

Russians began a new offensive on the Kharkiv region from the north and northeast on May 10, pushing into the region in the directions of Vovchansk and Lyptsi. They have reached as deep as 5-10 kilometers into the region with their assaults, said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

Since May 10, Russians almost completely demolished the city of Vovchansk, the first big city in the way of their offensive. As of today, near 11,000 people have been evacuated from Vovchansk and border towns and villages, reported Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov.  

Syrskyi said that, in the area of Lyptsi, Russians also suffered significant losses and shifted to active defence. There, Russians “are putting down mines and directing fire to our troops’ positions.” 

Syrskyi added that, on Kupiansk axis (Kharkiv Oblast’s east), the combat clashes are ongoing in forests north of the city. “A complex situation is near Kyslivka, where the enemy is trying to break through our defense and get to Oskil river.” 

Both Ukrainian military and intelligence said that the Russian new offensive north of Kharkiv region aimed to distract Ukraine’s forces from Donetsk Oblas. Currently, Syrskyi reports on intense fighting near Ivanivske and Chasiv Yar in Donetsk Oblast — and in Pokrovksk and Kurakhove directions. 

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