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Military: Russian forces in Kharkiv Oblast contained, fighting continues

by Chris York May 11, 2024 2:41 PM 2 min read
Illustrative purposes only: Ukrainian soldiers of the 41st brigade stand near the front line outside of Kupiansk, Kharkiv Oblast, on Jan. 23, 2024 (Roman Pilipey/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russian forces involved in the new offensive operation targeting Kharkiv Oblast are contained and have not advanced further, Ukraine's military said on May 11.

Speaking to national TV, Nazar Voloshyn, the spokesperson of the Khortytsia group of forces, said Moscow's troops were being held back in the so-called "gray zone," border settlements that lie along the oblast's border with Russia.

"The enemy is contained in the gray zone, and it is not expanding," he said.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry reported on May 10 that Russian forces launched an attempt to break through in Kharkiv Oblast.

The General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces later that day reported Ukrainian troops were fending off Russian forces in the Lyptsi and Vovchansk directions in the north of Kharkiv Oblast as Moscow deployed infantry and heavy equipment.

Voloshyn said fighting was continuing in the Lyptsi and Vovchansk directions and Ukrainian forces were hunting down Russian troops he said were hidden in forested areas.

It remains to be seen if the Russian offensive is a limited action or the prelude to a larger attack on the city of Kharkiv itself.

Partisans: Russian unit refuses to attack Kharkiv Oblast
A member of the partisan group Atesh who serves in a motorized rifle battalion of the 44th Army Corps of the Russian Armed Forces said that one division in his unit outright refused to participate in the offensive against Kharkiv Oblast.

On May 10, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the White House had assessed the latter was a possibility.

"It is certainly possible that the Russians are setting themselves up for a larger assault on Kharkiv," Kirby said, citing signs that Russia appears to be preparing to use long-range fire within the range of the city.

Kirby also said that Russia may achieve some advances in the coming weeks, but breakthroughs are unlikely as the influx of U.S. assistance will help Ukraine withstand the attacks, AFP reported.

Washington "is working around the clock" to provide Ukraine with defense supplies, Kirby added.

Over the past day, 1,775 civilians in Kharkiv Oblast have been evacuated from their homes amid renewed Russian attacks on the region, Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported on May 11.

Russian forces failed to take Kharkiv in the first weeks of the full-scale invasion despite the fact that the city lies less than 30 kilometers from the Russian border.

Russia "would need years" to occupy Kharkiv, Oleksandr Pivnenko, the commander of Ukraine's National Guard, said amid the looming threat of renewed attack.

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