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Kyiv dismisses reports about Russia’s preparations for Kharkiv offensive

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 28, 2024 2:55 PM 3 min read
Photo for illustrative purposes. Kharkiv Railway Station is pictured during a snowfall in winter, Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine, on Dec. 12, 2023. (Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's Center for Countering Disinformation dismissed reports on March 28 about Russia’s preparations to launch a new offensive against Kharkiv, saying that Moscow currently "does not have the resources" for such an operation.

The statement comes two days after Russian independent media outlet Meduza cited anonymous sources close to the Kremlin saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin was considering trying to capture Kharkiv and "gradually finishing" the war after that. The sources said they didn't have information on whether such a decision had already been made.

Another source told Meduza that Putin was "ready to go to the end – even to Kyiv – and doesn’t care about the price." All interlocutors of the media outlet expressed confidence Putin planned to continue the war against Ukraine.

"All their lies about readiness to surround the city (Kharkiv) are designed for internal and external audiences and are part of the ‘fear propaganda’ campaign," said Andrii Kovalenko, the head of the Center for Countering Disinformation, subordinate to Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.

"Talks about the 350,000 soldiers they want to recruit for this task, threats by (Russian propagandist) Vladimir Solovyov — (they are) so far only talks. This is a psychological operation," he added.

"Now the enemy is only capable of shelling and terrorizing the city, and under this terror, it adapts narratives about an offensive that is impossible. But the enemy always frightens with offensives, using shelling."

Putin reiterates war goals, again threatens West in post-election comments
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would not be “intimidated” and thanked his supporters for delivering him another term in office after having secured 87.2% of the vote.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, is located in the northeast of the country, just about 30 kilometers from the Russian border. Due to its proximity to the border with Russia, Kharkiv Oblast and the regional capital have faced near-daily attacks since the start of the full-scale invasion.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier in March that Kharkiv was not yet safe enough for residents to return to the city.

The latest mass air strike against Kharkiv killed a man and injured at least 19 other people, including four children.

In one of Russia’s largest attacks against Ukraine’s power grid on March 22, a thermal power plant and all the electrical substations in Kharkiv were destroyed, leading to mass blackouts in the city.

Over the recent months, Russia has intensified assault attempts in the area of Kupiansk, a crucial strategic city in Kharkiv Oblast that was temporarily occupied by Russian troops.

Ukraine liberated Kupiansk and other occupied parts of the region during its surprise counteroffensive in September 2022.

Portrait of the Invader: 2 years of Russian soldiering in Ukraine
In two years of total war, Moscow has tried every trick to keep the death march going. It held a draft, expanded state-sponsored mercenary companies, recruited convicted prisoners, integrated proxies from occupied Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, and forcibly conscripted Ukrainians in occupied territor…
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