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Ukraine’s military chief admits ‘difficult situation’ in Kharkiv region | Russia-Ukraine war News

General Syrskii said the situation in the northeastern oblast has “significantly deteriorated” this week as Russian forces continue to advance.

Ukraine’s military chief admitted his forces were facing a “difficult situation” in the country’s northeastern Kharkiv region, where thousands more people have fled their homes as Russian forces continue to advance.

“This week the situation in the Kharkiv region has deteriorated significantly,” Oleksandr Syrskii wrote on Telegram on Sunday. “Fighting is ongoing in border areas along the border with the Russian Federation. »

While admitting that the situation is “difficult” and that Russian attackers have achieved “partial successes” in some areas, he said: “The Ukrainian defense forces are doing everything they can to maintain the lines and positions defensive”.

Intense fighting forced at least one Ukrainian unit to withdraw, leaving behind more land for Russian forces in less defended settlements in the contested so-called “gray zone” along the Russian border.

On Sunday afternoon, the city of Vovchansk, one of the largest in the northeast with a pre-war population of 17,000, became the focal point of the battle.

Volodymyr Tymoshko, Kharkiv regional police chief, said Russian forces were on the outskirts of the city and approaching from three directions. “Infantry fighting is already taking place,” he said. A Russian tank was spotted along a main road leading into the city, Tymoshko said, illustrating Moscow’s confidence in deploying heavy weapons.

Evacuation crews worked nonstop throughout the day to remove residents, most of whom were elderly, from danger.

At least 4,000 civilians have fled the Kharkiv region since Friday, when Moscow’s forces launched the operation, Governor Oleh Syniehubov said in a statement posted on social media. Heavy fighting raged Sunday along the northeastern front line, where Russian forces attacked 27 settlements in 24 hours, it said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that its forces had captured four villages located on the border, in addition to the five villages reportedly seized on Saturday. These areas were likely poorly fortified due to dynamic fighting and intense, constant bombardment, facilitating the Russian advance.

Ukrainian leaders have not confirmed Moscow’s achievements. But Tymoshko said that Strilecha, Pylna and Borsivika were under Russian occupation and that it was from their direction that the Russians were bringing in infantry to stage attacks on the besieged villages of Hlyboke and Lukiantsi.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday that intense fighting was taking place in parts of the region.

“Defensive battles and fierce fighting continue on a large part of our border,” Zelenskyy said, adding: “The idea behind the attacks in the Kharkiv region is to strain our forces and undermine the base moral and motivational of the capacity of Ukrainians to defend themselves.

The gains are “significant not only because of the territory, but also because in about 10 km (6 miles) they will be within bombing distance of the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city,” John said. Al Jazeera’s Holman, reporting. Ukrainian capital, kyiv.

“It also means that Ukraine is so tense on different sides of the front that it will probably have to divert its soldiers from other areas and send them to the Kharkiv region,” he added.

Analysts say the Russian action is aimed at exploiting ammunition shortages before promised Western supplies reach the front lines. Ukrainian soldiers said the Kremlin was using usual Russian tactics by launching a disproportionate amount of shooting and infantry assaults to wear down their troops and firepower.

By intensifying fighting in what was previously a static part of the front line, Russian forces are threatening to pin down Ukrainian forces in the northeast while waging intense fighting further south, where Moscow is also gaining ground.

The advance comes after Russia intensified its attacks in March, targeting energy infrastructure and settlements, which analysts say was a concerted effort to create conditions for an offensive.

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