Ukrainian government prepares for a major offensive by Russia

Ukrainian government prepares for a major offensive by Russia
Ukrainian government prepares for a major offensive by Russia

12:56 PM

The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, said in an exclusive interview with AFP that expects a broader Russian offensive in the north and east of the country with a view to conquering the city of Kharkiva region where Moscow continues its assault launched on May 10 this Saturday.

The Russian offensive “It could consist of several waves. “There was a first wave,” Zelensky said on Friday, after Russia made its biggest territory gains since the end of 2022.

However, he assured that despite the Russian advances of recent days, the situation for his forces was better than a week ago.

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According to Zelensky, Russia intends to take the city of Kharkiv, the regional capital, located just a few dozen kilometers from the front, after Moscow failed in its attempt to conquer it in 2022. However, the Russian president stated on Friday that he has no intention of attacking it “for now”.

Russian forces are trying to take advantage of Ukraine’s lack of soldiers and weapons after two years of war.

Nearly 10,000 evacuees

Zelensky acknowledged to AFP a lack of troops. “A big number [de brigadas] they are empty”he claimed.

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Faced with these shortcomings, kyiv voted a controversial law that reduces the age from 27 to 25 years with the aim of accelerating military mobilization, and which came into force this Saturday.

He also enacted a law allowing prisoners to be recruited in exchange for parole.

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Regarding its Western allies, he regretted that Ukraine only has a quarter of the air defense systems it needs and He added that it also requires between 120 and 130 F-16 combat aircraft.

Meanwhile, in northeastern Ukraine, nearly 10,000 people have been evacuated since this offensive began in the Kharkiv region.

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“In total, 9,907 people were evacuated”declared Governor Oleg Synegubov, who stated that Ukrainian forces repelled two attempts by enemy forces to break through their defenses during the night.

two civiliansaged 70 and 83, died while leaving Vovchansk by car, declared the region’s prosecutor. But the situation is “under control,” said Synegubov, who previously indicated that the Russians had begun “to destroy Vovchansk, using tanks and artillery.”

However, Moscow continues its advance in the area. The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Saturday that its forces “They liberated the town of Staritsa”near Vovchansk, and “continue their advance towards the enemy’s positions.”

Located about 50 km from Kharkiv, second city in the country, Vovchansk had 18,000 inhabitants before the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022. A hundred people still remain in the city.

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The Russian army often destroys Ukrainian cities to conquer them, as it did in Bakhmut last year or Adviivka in February. kyiv accuses Moscow of using civilians as “human shields” in Vovchansk and having committed at least one summary execution.

Reinforcement of borders

A little further west, Russian forces advanced their second assault axis in the region. Their objective is the village of Lukiantsi, to make their way towards Lipsi, another town in the Kharkiv region.

On Friday the army claimed the capture of 12 cities in the region in the space of a week. With 257 km2 conquered in the Kharkiv region, according to an AFP analysis based on data from the American Institute for the Study of War, In one week, Moscow achieved its biggest territorial gains since the end of 2022.

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Friday evening, There were new Russian attacks in Kharkiv that left at least three dead and 28 wounded, according to figures provided by the mayor, Igor Terekhov.

For its part, Russia accused the kyiv regime on Saturday of having attacked it with “French-made Hammer guided bombs and American-made HARM anti-radar missiles” in the Russian region of Belgorod, bordering Ukraine.

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Given the intensification of the conflict, Poland announced that it will invest more than 2.5 billion dollars in the security and fortification of its border with Russia and Belarus, which also constitutes the eastern limit of the European Union.

This “reinforcement of 400 kilometers on the border (…) will be an element of deterrence and a strategy to repel war on our borders”declared Prime Minister Donald Tusk, whose country fears being Moscow’s next target.

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