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Ukraine says it repelled Russian bid to cross border

Image source, REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy

Legend, Three children injured in another attack on regional capital Kharkiv

  • Author, James Waterhouse and Paul Kirby
  • Role, BBC News in Kyiv and London

Ukraine says it repelled a Russian armored attack in the northeastern Kharkiv region after Moscow’s forces launched an incursion across the border and sought to break through defensive lines.

Kharkiv regional head Oleh Syniehubov said Russian reconnaissance groups tried to penetrate the border, adding that “not a single meter was lost.”

“Russia has launched a new wave of counter-offensive operations in the Kharkiv sector,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

Also on Friday, a huge fire broke out at an oil storage depot in Ukraine’s occupied Luhansk region after what Russian officials said was a Ukrainian strike. Three people were killed in the attack, they added.

Ukrainian commanders have been expecting a summer offensive for some time, perhaps even an attempt to capture the regional capital, Kharkiv. But officials are adamant that Russia does not have the resources to do so.

Russia has the ability to aggravate the situation in the border areas, but not the ability to seize Ukraine’s second city, said the head of Ukraine’s Center for Combating Disinformation, Andriy Kovalenko.

Ukrainian reports suggest that Russia was trying to create a 10km buffer zone for its Belgorod region, after a series of Ukrainian cross-border attacks.

Friday’s small incursions over the Russian border are a familiar but worrying focus for Ukrainian forces.

The Defense Ministry in kyiv said the attack began with intensive bombardment of the town of Vovchansk “using guided aerial bombs” with artillery support. Then, small Russian “scout groups” set up across the border, apparently in several locations.

The local leader of Vovchansk, 75 km northeast of Kharkiv, said the town had come under heavy attacks from the early hours of Friday and civilians were being evacuated. Some 3,000 people live in Vovchansk and at least one person was killed and five others injured during the blockade, according to the Kharkiv regional head.

“Around 05:00, the enemy attempted to break through our defensive line under the cover of armored vehicles. Currently, these attacks have been repelled and fighting of varying intensity continues,” the Defense Ministry said .

President Zelensky said the Russians were engaged “with our troops, our brigades and our artillery” but added that a fierce battle was underway.

Civilians are being evacuated from the Vovchansk district as reserve troops arrive there, officials added.

In the occupied Luhansk region, Russian officials reported that Ukrainian forces attacked the town of Rovenky, killing three people and wounding seven.

The Russian Health Ministry said four of the injured were in serious condition.

“Due to the bombing, the oil depot was engulfed in flames and neighboring houses were damaged,” Russian Governor Leonid Pasechnik wrote on Telegram.

It was the second such attack this week. On Wednesday, an attack on another oil depot in the region injured five people.

Ukrainian bloggers and Telegram channels reported Friday’s attack and published photos of a large fire.

However, there was no comment from Ukrainian officials.

On Friday, the United States announced a new $400 million (£319 million; €371 million) military aid package for Ukraine.

It will be Washington’s third tranche of aid to the country after months of political impasse and delays – adding to the previous package worth a total of $7 billion sent at the end of April.

In a statement, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the “urgent” aid would include air defense munitions, artillery shells, anti-tank weapons and armored vehicles.

The White House gave its assessment of the situation on Friday, with national security spokesman John Kirby telling reporters that the United States believed Russia “will make further progress in the coming weeks to attempt to establish a buffer zone along the Ukrainian border.

He added, however, that Washington was confident in Ukraine’s ability to resist such attacks and would “work around the clock” to ensure the country has all the tools and weapons necessary to do so.

Moscow seeks to take advantage of the late arrival of American munitions and weapons by continuing its advances in the eastern Donetsk region.

The resumption of heavy fighting in the northeast once again illustrates Russia’s growing confidence and ambitions.

Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence, Major General Vadyn Skibitsky, told The Economist last week that Russia was preparing for an assault on Kharkiv and the northern Sumy region. This warning was repeated by the commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, Lieutenant General Oleksandr Pavliuk.

Tens of thousands of Russian troops are said to have gathered at the border.

You could be forgiven for witnessing a repeat of what happened in 2022, when Russia failed to capture Kharkiv and Sumy in the first weeks of its full-scale invasion. Russian forces occupied the border town of Vovchansk for several months, until they were driven out in September 2022.

Image source, Ukrainian State Border Service

Legend, Vovchansk was liberated by Ukraine in 2022 after months of Russian occupation

On the surface at least, officials and generals do not believe that either regional capital can fall.

Russia was unable to conquer either of these cities despite having a larger and better trained force than it does today. Ukrainian sources estimate that around 90% of the initial army of 150,000 men died or were wounded.

Military commentator Oleksandr Kovalenko noted that Russia needed some 80,000 troops to capture the small eastern town of Avdiivka last February, after months of bombing. Big cities like Sumy and Kharkiv have a completely different scale, he says.

Second, Russia has discussed creating a buffer zone between its Belgorod region and Ukraine.

Indeed, Ukrainian troops continued to launch artillery strikes on Russian territory, to the dismay of some Western allies.

News Source :
Gn world

jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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