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An aerial view of the city center of Sumy, Sumy Oblast, Ukraine. (RoNeDya / Getty Images)
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Ukrainian forces are strengthening the fortifications of the first, second, and third lines of defense in Sumy Oblast bordering Russia amid intensified attacks, Vadym Mysnyk, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military's Northern Operational Command, told Ukrinform on March 18.

Border communities in Sumy Oblast have suffered from regular Russian shelling and air strikes since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Russian attacks on Sumy Oblast have become increasingly destructive in recent weeks.

A Russian attack on Seredyna-Buda injured five people last week. Another attack on March 7 killed two people and injured 26, with six civilians hospitalized.

Border guards and Ukrainian troops in Sumy Oblast on March 17 stopped three groups of Russian saboteurs from advancing. Sumy Oblast borders the Russian regions of Kursk and Belgorod, which have recently experienced attacks from anti-Kremlin militia.

"The defense forces in the Sumy Oblast perform combat tasks to protect the state border and prevent Russian sabotage and reconnaissance groups and the Russian military from crossing the border," Mysnyk said in a comment to Ukrinform.

Ukrainian forces in Sumy Oblast "are considering various options for the development of events in the region and are preparing for them," he said, adding that they "are not observing a significant enemy group for a large-scale invasion" of the region at the moment.

Evacuation of civilians continues from the most dangerous areas of Sumy Oblast, such as the town of Velyka Pysarivka, located directly on the Ukraine-Russia border.

Taurus missiles: Why Ukraine wants them – and Germany hesitates
When faced with questions from German lawmakers on March 13, Chancellor Olaf Scholz once again said “no” to the delivery of the Taurus long-range missile to Ukraine. “Prudence is not something that one can qualify as a weakness. Prudence is something that the citizens of our country are entitled to…
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