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Border Guard: Buildup of Russian troops along Sumy border not enough for major attack

by Dominic Culverwell May 26, 2024 4:56 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky during his visit to Sumy Oblast on March 27, 2024. (Ukraine's Presidential Office)
This audio is created with AI assistance

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Russia does not have enough troops for a major attack in Sumy Oblast but may still attempt to invade the region, State Border Guard Service spokesperson Andriy Demchenko said on television on May 26.

Demchenko said that he does not see a Russian “group that could achieve strategic goals” near Sumy Oblast despite a buildup of troops. But he stressed that Ukraine must “be prepared for any action.”

Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on May 26 that "Russia is preparing for offensive actions also 90 kilometers northwest – they gather another group of troops near our border."

Sumy Oblast borders Russia in northeastern Ukraine and lies west of Kharkiv Oblast where Russian troops launched a new offensive on May 10.

Zelensky: Russia forming another grouping of forces near Ukraine’s northern border
“Russia is preparing for offensive actions also 90 kilometers northwest from here – they gather another group of troops near our border... The one who does all this doesn’t want peace,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address to the world leaders recorded in Kharkiv on May 26.

The region suffers daily shelling by Russia and Ukrainian troops regularly fight off Russian sabotage groups conducting raids across the border.

The region was liberated from Russian occupation in April 2022.

On May 21, Demchenko warned that Russia has "certain units" on the Sumy Oblast border, and a limited attack is possible.

"It is in order to stretch the front line, the line of active combat operations, and actually stretch (Ukraine's) defense forces," he added.

Demchenko’s comments come after Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine's military intelligence chief, suggested in mid-May that Russian forces may launch an offensive in Sumy Oblast along the lines of the ongoing offensive in Kharkiv Oblast.

Ukraine has built up its fortifications in Sumy Oblast in recent months and authorities have ordered evacuations from the region.

One night with Ukrainian drone hunters near Russia
Editor’s note: Due to the security protocols of the Ukrainian military, soldiers featured in this story are identified solely by first names and call signs. SUMY OBLAST – Soldiers from one of Ukraine’s 117th Territorial Defense Brigade mobile air defense squads call themselves fowlers. The unit’s…
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