Syrskyi: Intense battles continue in Kharkiv region along state border with Russia

Karina Bondar - 13 May 2024 | 12:34

KHARKIV OBLAST, UKRAINE, May 13 —  This week, the situation in the Kharkiv region has “significantly worsened”, writes the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksandr Syrskyi. According to him, fighting continues along the state border of the Russian Federation.

“The situation is difficult, but the Ukrainian Defense Forces are doing everything to hold their defensive lines and positions, inflicting damage on the enemy,” Syrskyi wrote on his Telegram.

On May 10, Russia launched a new ground offensive north and northeast of the Kharkiv region, moving forward in small incursions and trying to probe Ukrainian defenses. The border communities came under intense Russian shelling and air strikes with heavy glide bombs. Civilian evacuation from there is ongoing. Ukrainian authorities knew about the possible attack and said the region was prepared for defense and repelling a new Russian offensive.

Field report: Threat of reoccupation looms over Vovchansk as Russia launches new offensive on Kharkiv region. Gwara Media joined the evacuation mission on May 11 to talk to people who were leaving and staying in Vovchansk in the wake of the Russian assault on the city.  

Intense battles are also ongoing in the Kupiansk, Siversk, Lyman, and Pokrovsk directions, and the situation is changing dynamically. Syrskyi said that in some areas, the Russian army has partial success, while in others, the Defense Forces are pushing the Russians back and improving their tactical position.

In addition, the General Staff reports that Russians are conducting assault operations in the directions of Strilecha — Hlyboke, Oliinykove — Hlyboke, Olinykove — Lukiantsi, Murom — Starytsia, Pletenivka — Tykhe.

On May 12, ISW analysts said that the city of Vovchansk is one of the Russian main efforts in the northern Kharkiv direction. It is 50 kilometers away from Kharkiv and five km from the border. Vovchansk’s proximity to the international border affords Russian forces “many opportunities,” including stable control and fire support without moving their artillery. It also allows for quick fuel and weapons deliveries to the frontline.

The situation on the frontline as of May 13, 2024/ Photo: screenshot from the DeepState website

As General Staff writes, currently, the battle for the border city of Vovchansk is ongoing. Five battalions of the Russian army are engaged in an offensive on the city: in this direction, Russians have tactical success.

Evacuation is currently underway in the region. The police and volunteers, go door-to-door and help people to leave the border towns and villages. As of this morning, 5,762 people have been evacuated from the dangerous areas where active hostilities occur in the Kharkiv region.

Photo credits: A destroyed house in Vovchansk / Photo: Yana Sliemzina for Gwara Media

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  • Deputy chief of Ukrainian military intelligence agency Vadym Skibitskyi said in an interview with Economist, published on May 2, that Russian troops are preparing for an assault on the Kharkiv and Sumy regions, presumably at the end of May or in June 2024
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