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Military: Russia keeps 19,000 troops on Ukraine's northern border

by Martin Fornusek January 8, 2024 4:03 PM 1 min read
Ukrainian border guards patrol on the closed checkpoint of Slavutych on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border in Chernihiv Oblast on July 14, 2023. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russia maintains a force of 19,000 soldiers on the borders with Ukraine's Sumy and Chernihiv oblasts, the spokesperson of Ukraine's northern forces, Yurii Povkh, said on Jan. 8.

Russian forces invaded the two northern oblasts at the onset of the full-scale invasion in 2022 but were pushed back behind the borders in April of that year.

"This number has not changed for several months, so there is no need to discuss signs of the enemy forming any strike groups," Povkh said on television.

The spokesperson added that a contingent of this size could be used to secure the border but not to break through Ukrainian lines.

While not under the threat of a major offensive, the two regions regularly experience cross-border raids by Russian sabotage groups and shelling.

"Currently, we can say that the enemy is carrying out its harassing fire to a greater extent," Povkh said.

Ukrainian forces are maintaining control over the northern border and preventing the crossing of Russian sabotage groups, the spokesperson added.

In the first two weeks of December, Russian forces attempted to cross the border into the Sumy and Chernihiv oblasts seven times, Lieutenant General Serhii Naiev said. Five of these attempts were caught in the act by Ukrainian troops, he added.

All residents evacuated from 19 villages in northern Ukraine following Russian attacks
Earlier, authorities said they aimed to evacuate 115 settlements.
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ISW: Russia holds offensive initiative.

"Russian forces have regained the theater-wide initiative and will be able to pursue offensive operations when and where they choose as long as they hold the initiative," the ISW said.
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