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Military: Ukrainian forces stabilize situation in Kharkiv Oblast, including Vovchansk

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 21, 2024 9:32 PM 2 min read
In this aerial view, smoke rises from the Ukrainian border city of in Vovchansk, Ukraine, on May 17, 2024. Ukraine has been evacuating civilians from around Vovchansk as Russian forces advance in the area and are bombarding the city daily with heavy artillery. (Libkos/Getty Images)
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Ukrainian troops have stabilized the military situation in Kharkiv Oblast, including the town of Vovchansk, but it remains "complex," Nazar Voloshyn, the spokesperson for the Khortytsia group of forces, said on television on May 21.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry confirmed on May 15 that Russian units had entered the northern parts of Vovchansk. The Ukrainian military said at the time it had prevented Russia from establishing a foothold deeper in the town.

Ukrainian forces had controlled about 60% of Vovchansk amid continuous Russian assaults as of May 20, according to local authorities.

"Currently, the operational environment remains complex in Kharkiv Oblast; it is changing dynamically," Voloshyn said on national television.

"But our Armed Forces and other involved units have managed to stabilize the situation, particularly in the town of Vovchansk," the spokesperson added.

The Russian military continues its attempts to break through near Vovchansk, the villages of Lyptsi and Staritsia, according to Voloshyn.

Russia’s new Kharkiv offensive pushes Vovchansk to the brink of annihilation
VOVCHANSK, KHARKIV OBLAST – The glide bombs arrive in groups of three. Their flight can be heard from far away, but only in the last second before impact is it clear where it will hit. The explosions, orders of magnitude more powerful than regular artillery shells, shake the ground where the

"Invaders combine ground assaults with air strikes, of course," he said, adding that Russian troops use air force as well for carrying out bomb and missile attacks against Kharkiv Oblast, including its regional center.

Russian forces conducted 83 assaults in Kharkiv Oblast over the past week, while five armed clashes were recorded since the beginning on May 21, Voloshyn said. The number of clashes has decreased nearly twice compared to the prior day, the spokesperson added.

"The enemy continues to focus its efforts on the direction of Strilecha-Lyptsi and on capturing the town of Vovchansk, moving further to Bilyi Kolodiaz and deploying an assault in the rear of our troops."

Russia launched a new offensive with a reported 30,000 troops on May 10, targeting Kharkiv Oblast, which is situated near the two countries' shared border in northeastern Ukraine.

Moscow's forces had advanced as far as 10 kilometers (6 miles) in the region but had been halted by the first line of defense.

Russia's offensive in Kharkiv Oblast in mid-May could be the first of several waves, and Russian forces may target the regional capital, Kharkiv, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with AFP on May 17.

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