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Governor: 5,900 people evacuated from Kharkiv Oblast amid Russian offensive

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 13, 2024 9:27 PM 2 min read
Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov during a press briefing in Kharkiv on May 13, 2024. (Olena Zashko/The Kyiv Independent)
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At least 5,900 people have been evacuated from Kharkiv Oblast since Russian forces launched a new offensive in the region, Governor Oleh Syniehubov said during a press briefing in Kharkiv on May 13.

Russian troops launched a new wave of offensive actions on May 10, mainly focusing on borderline settlements in Kharkiv Oblast.

Syniehubov reported earlier that Ukrainian authorities planned to evacuate around 1,600 residents over the course of the day.

Up to 200 people remain in the city of Vovchansk, which has become a key target for Russian troops in recent days due to its proximity to the countries' shared border.

Syniehubov said urban combat is ongoing in the northern outskirts of Vovchansk, a Kyiv Independent journalist reported.

The General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces said earlier in the day that Russia had "tactical success" in the battle for the city.

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War Notes

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.

Fortifications in the area were built and strengthened after the town was liberated, "but the situation was and is extremely difficult" due to the close proximity of Vovchansk to the Russian border and constant shellings, according to authorities.

The construction of fortifications was "perhaps not so tight," Tamaz Gambarashvili, the head of Vovchansk City Military Administration, said on May 13.

Russia’s new Kharkiv offensive pushes Vovchansk to the brink of annihilation
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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