Russia widens Kharkiv front in Ukraine with small assault groups, governor says

Russia pressed its ground assault into Ukraine's Kharkiv region on Monday, attacking new areas with small groups to try to widen the front and stretch Ukraine's forces, the regional governor said.

Publication: 13.05.2024 - 16:04
Russia widens Kharkiv front in Ukraine with small assault groups, governor says
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Moscow's troops entered Ukraine near its second city, Kharkiv, on Friday, opening a new, northeastern front in a war that has for almost two years been largely fought in the east and south. The advance could draw some of Kyiv's depleted forces away from the east, where Russia has been slowly advancing.

"The enemy is trying to deliberately stretch it (the front line), attacking in small groups, but in new directions, so to speak," Governor Oleh Syniehubov said in televised comments.

"The situation is difficult."

A day after the Russian offensive began, Ukraine appointed Brigadier General Mykhailo Drapatyi to take command of the Kharkiv front, the media outlet RBC-Ukraine reported.

Drapatyi previously led the liberation of the southern Kherson region in November 2022 before serving as deputy head of the General Staff.

Ukraine is on the defensive after a months-long slowdown in supplies of Western, especially American, military aid that has left Russia with an even greater advantage in manpower and munitions.

In the northeast, Russia's forces were pushing in several directions, including near the town of Vovchansk and also towards the village of Lyptsi, Syniehubov said.

Kyiv's forces were managing to hold Moscow's troops back but there was a real threat that the fighting could spread to new settlements, he warned.

Russia said on Sunday it had captured nine villages in the Kharkiv region. On Monday it said the troops had improved their positions and inflicted losses on territorial defence forces.

The Ukrainian military, in its daily readout, acknowledged some Russian "tactical successes" and said it was deploying reserves to stabilise the situation.

It said fighting was raging for control of Vovchansk, about five km (three miles) from the Russian border.

Syniehubov said about 5,700 people had been evacuated from in and around Vovchansk and urged the remaining residents, said by local officials to number about 300, to leave.