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Russian attack on Kharkiv cannot be ruled out, commander-in-chief says

by Chris York March 29, 2024 11:44 AM 2 min read
Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi visits military units in the Bakhmut sector on Feb. 8, 2024. (Ground Forces/Telegram)
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Any attempt by the Russian army to take the city of Kharkiv would be “fatal” for Moscow’s forces, Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces Oleksandr Syrskyi, said on March 29.

Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, located just over 30 kilometers south of the Russian border, has in recent weeks seen an escalation in strikes from Russian missiles, drones, and now air bombs.

A recent report by Latvia-based Russian media outlet Meduza claimed “political elites” have not ruled out that President Vladimir Putin will order a ground offensive against the city.

In an interview with Ukrinform, Syrskyi said such an attack could not be ruled out and Ukraine’s Armed Forces were “taking all measures to adequately respond to such a possibility.”

Russia intensifies attacks on Kharkiv, draining Ukraine’s air defense and civilian morale
This was the first time since 2022 that Russian troops used a glide air bomb, reportedly a new-type UMPB D-30 munition, to kill residents of Ukraine’s second-largest city.

“Today, we are carrying out a large scale of works on the fortification of territories and positions, we are installing a complex system of barriers,” he said.

Referencing the liberation of parts of Kharkiv Oblast in 2022 after seven months of Russian occupation, Syrskyi said Ukraine’s Armed Forces already had experience of military operations in the region which caused the “large-scale collapse of the Russian front.”

“If the Russians go there again, Kharkiv will become a fatal city for them,” he added.

In the same interview, Syrski said that despite being outmanned and outgunned, Ukraine’s use of drones and high-precision artillery mean Russian troops “can never feel safe” even far from the front lines.

He also acknowledged the “very difficult” situation on the front, saying Moscow’s forces continue to use mass assaults and has recently significantly increased the use of air strikes and guided bombs “that destroy our positions.”

Syrski also said Russian forces currently enjoy an ammunition advantage of around 6:1, adding that Ukraine is helped by high-precision ammunition.

“Our gunners use high-precision ammunition to destroy enemy concentrations even tens of kilometers from the front line,” he added.

Zelensky visits Sumy Oblast, inspects fortifications
President Volodymyr Zelensky was briefed on the project for the construction of a platoon stronghold near Sumy, which includes reinforced concrete structures, firing positions for tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, and corrugated steel shelters.

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