Russian bombings on Kharkiv caused the exodus of more than 14,000 Ukrainians in recent days

Russian bombings on Kharkiv caused the exodus of more than 14,000 Ukrainians in recent days
Russian bombings on Kharkiv caused the exodus of more than 14,000 Ukrainians in recent days

Local resident Yana looks at her house damaged by a Russian airstrike in Kharkiv (REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko)

More than 14,000 people have been displaced in recent days from the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkivwhere Russia launched a ground offensive on May 10, the World Health Organization reported Tuesday.

The assault has meant for the Russian forces their biggest territorial advance in Ukraine in the last 18 months.

“In the last two weeks, the fighting in the Ukrainian region of Kharkiv seriously intensifieddeclared Jarno Habicht, WHO representative in Ukraine, at a press conference held in Geneva by videoconference from kyiv.

“More than 14,000 people have been displaced in a matter of days, and almost 189,000 more continue to reside less than 25 kilometers from the border with the Russian Federationfacing significant risks due to continued fighting,” he said.

Aerial view of a building destroyed by a Russian attack near Kharkiv, this Sunday. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

He said that the health agency of The UN used these figures after speaking with local authorities.

“With the worsening security situation, humanitarian needs in the region are growing, and growing rapidly”said Habicht.

The Kharkiv conflict “The number of trauma patients has increased significantly”he added.

Paramedics help an injured man at the site of a tourist complex hit by a Russian missile. (REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko)

Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Since then, more than 20,000 amputations have been performedHabicht said.

And 200 ambulances a year, on average, have been damaged or destroyed in bombings, “depriving the Ukrainian people of urgent care,” he added.

A woman reacts while talking on the phone about the death of a family member (REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko)

In this context, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) expressed concern that conditions in Kharkiv – which already houses 200,000 internally displaced– can become even more difficult if the ground assault and air strikes continue.

“UNHCR is extremely concerned about the worsening situation and the resulting increase in humanitarian needs and forced displacement due to the new ground offensive,” spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said at the Geneva briefing.

He said that the Ukrainian authorities had evacuated more than 10,300 people from the villages in the border areas of the Kharkiv region, while others have left on their own.

Most of the evacuees, who had to flee their homes with only a few belongings, are already very vulnerable and mainly include old people and people with limited mobility or disabilities who could not flee before,” Mantoo said.

A police officer and a volunteer help a local Vovchansk resident during his evacuation to Kharkiv (REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy)

People registered at a transit center in the city of Kharkiv have received basic relief items and have been advised on accommodation options.

“The vast majority of evacuees have expressed a clear desire to stay with family members or in rental accommodation and collective sites in Kharkiv and not move further from their homes, so that they can return when the situation allows,” Mantoo said.

The United Nations 2024 humanitarian plan for Ukraine amounts to $3.1 billion this year. The UN spokesperson, Alessandra Velluccisaid that so far only 23% had been financed.

The hand of a woman killed by a Russian missile in Kharkiv (REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko)

The last major attack in the region occurred on Sunday, when at least 11 people died due to Russian attacks. The Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office said that six people were killed and 27 injured in a Russian attack on the outskirts of the regional capitalalso called Kharkiv.

The regional governor, Oleh Syniehubovsaid five other people were killed and nine wounded in an attack on the district of Kupiansksoutheast of the regional capital.

Nevertheless, russian forces that attack in the area adjacent to the Kharkiv border with Russia have been seen forced to reduce the frequency of their attacks due to the losses suffered at the hands of the Ukrainian troops defending this new front, according to a kyiv military spokesman stated this Monday.

Despite this, explained the spokesman for the National Guard, Ruslan MuzichukRussian forces continue trying to consolidate their positions near the towns to which they have managed to approach with groups of infantry that also penetrate into some of these municipalities as soon as they have the opportunity.

A Ukrainian soldier from the 65th Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine stands next to a damaged car near the town of Robotyne, on the front line. (REUTERS/file)

According to Muizchuk, the Russians use light vehicles to cover their logistical needs on this front opened on May 10 when Russian troops crossed the border to take the fighting to the Ukrainian side and take, during the following seven days, several towns in the area.

Despite the drop in the intensity of operations, Russia continues trying to break the Ukrainian defenses in the towns of Vovchansk -the most important municipality in the border area- and Staritsa, in the eastern axis opened by the Russians in the area, and in Lipsi and Zeleni, both located in the western axis along which they have expanded the front in Kharkiv.

A resident is evacuated to Kharkiv due to Russian bombing (REUTERS/file)

The head of the regional military administration, Roman Semenujaexplained on Monday that the Ukrainian armed forces currently control about 60% of the town of Vovchansk.

“The city is approximately 60% controlled by the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” Semenuja said in an intervention on Ukrainian television. The Ukrainian official added that Russia continues to launch attacks on the town to completely displace the Ukrainian troops defending it.

Also this Monday, the spokesman for the Ukrainian southern command Dmitro Pletenchuk once again denied that Russian forces had taken the town of Robotyneon the southeast front of Zaporozhyeas the Russian Ministry of Defense assured last week.

Robotyne It was one of the main towns taken by the Ukrainians in their counteroffensive last summer, which was exhausted at the beginning of autumn without achieving the expected results.

(With information from AFP, EFE, AP)

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