Wave of Russian attacks against Ukrainian region – El Diario

(CNN) – More than 1,700 people have been evacuated to the Kharkiv region after Russian forces launched two cross-border attacks inside northern Ukraine, in what President Volodymyr Zelensky calls a “new wave of counteroffensive actions” by Russia.

In the first development, Russian soldiers penetrated at least a kilometer into the town of Vovchansk, a Ukrainian military source told CNN. The goal, the source said, “was to go 10 kilometers deep and create a buffer zone on the border to prevent Russian territory from feeling the war.”

In an official statement, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said Russian soldiers supported by armored vehicles had crossed the border at around 5:00 a.m. Friday local time, following a day of intensified attacks on the border area with guided aerial bombs and artillery.

The statement added that Ukrainian reserve units had been deployed to reinforce defences in the area.

A second Ukrainian source with direct knowledge of developments on the front lines told CNN that Russian forces had also penetrated five kilometers into Ukraine toward the village of Krasne, which lies about 75 kilometers along the border, west of Vovchansk.

The source said the Russian ground assault on Krasne was carried out by four Russian battalions, some 2,000 men.

Ukrainian officials have not given much information about the second Russian strike, although the Ukrainian General Staff, in its update on Friday evening local time, did note Russian strikes in the Krasne area and two neighboring villages.

Also noteworthy is that DeepStateMap, a Ukrainian monitoring group that updates frontline developments daily, showed four villages next to each other – including Krasne – in the grey area, representing territory currently under dispute rather than full Ukrainian control.

DeepStateMap also noted on its Telegram channel that the number of Russian forces deployed in the two cross-border attacks was not sufficient for a deeper advance into Ukrainian territory, but also drew attention to the fact that Moscow has many more troops positioned along the border – some 40,000, according to estimates.

Asked about the developments, President Volodymyr Zelensky did not downplay their seriousness, but said the Ukrainian military had expected such a move.

«Russia launched a new wave of counteroffensive actions in [la región norte de Járkiv]”Ukraine welcomed them there with our troops, brigades and artillery,” he told reporters on Friday afternoon.

“But our army and our military command were aware of this and anticipated that their forces would engage the enemy with fire. Now there is a fierce battle in this area.” […] “I think that from now on we have stopped the enemy with artillery fire,” Zelensky said.

Oleh Syniehubov, head of the Kharkiv regional military administration, said on Telegram that two civilians had been killed in the Russian offensive and several more had been wounded.

More than 1,700 evacuated in Kharkiv region

A total of 1,775 people have been evacuated from Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, the head of the region’s military administration said on Saturday, a day after Russia launched the strikes.

A total of 1,048 local residents have been evacuated from Chuhuiv district, another 440 people from Kharkiv district and 12 from Bohodukhiv district, Oleh Syniehubov said on Telegram.

The developments mark the most serious cross-border ground assault by Russia since Ukraine recaptured territory in the northern Kharkiv region in late summer 2022, after Russia first seized it in the opening weeks of its full-scale invasion.

It also comes after several months of increased Russian airstrikes on the city of Kharkiv, which have destroyed the city’s entire power generating capacity as well as its substations.

Syniehubov insisted that the latest Russian ground attacks did not put the town, which lies just 30 kilometres south of the Russian border, at greater risk.

“The enemy group does not pose a threat to the city of Kharkiv, its forces are only sufficient to provoke in the northern direction.”

However, analysts say that if Russian forces could advance much further south, they could put the northern end of the city within range of Russian artillery, which can fire out to about 20 kilometers (12 miles). (CNN)

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