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Governor: Up to 300 civilians remain in Vovchansk amid Russian advances

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 13, 2024 3:21 PM 1 min read
A man holds a cat while volunteers and police evacuate residents of Vovchansk as Russian troops attempt to seize the city and launch shelling and air strikes in Kharkiv, Ukraine on May 12, 2024. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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Up to 300 people remain in Vovchansk as Russian troops "advance in certain directions," Kharkiv Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported on May 13.

Vovchansk, a town situated less than 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the Russian border, is currently a key focus of Russia's renewed push into Kharkiv Oblast, which began on May 10.

Ukraine's General Staff said in a statement in the early hours of May 13 that Russian forces have had "tactical success" in the fight for Vovchansk.

Evacuations of civilians are being carried out as Russian troops continue "to advance in certain directions," Syniehubov said.

"The situation is quite complicated," but is "controlled by our military," the governor added.

According to Syniehubov, the authorities plan to evacuate about 1,600 local residents over the course of the day. Around 200 to 300 people are known to still be in Vovchansk.

So far, over 5,000 civilians have been evacuated from Kharkiv Oblast, Syniehubov reported earlier on May 13.

Vovchansk, which had a population of almost 17,000 before the full-scale invasion, came under Russian occupation in February 2022. The town was liberated on Sept. 11, 2022, during Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast.

Civilians flee Vovchansk under Russian bombardment as ground offensive on Kharkiv begins
Vovchansk is ground zero of Russia’s new offensive into Kharkiv Oblast, the first time a serious push has been made to take territory across the border since the area was liberated from Russian occupation in 2022.
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