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Ukraine war latest: Ukrainian forces stabilize situation in Kharkiv Oblast, 'partially' push Russian troops out of Vovchansk

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 15, 2024 10:15 PM 6 min read
Illustrative purposes only: Police officer Oleksii Kharkivskyi looks at smoke rising from a Russian glide bomb impact site in Vovchansk, Kharkiv Oblast, on May 11, 2024. (Francis Farrell/The Kyiv Independent)
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Key developments on May 15:

  • Zelensky: Ukraine stabilizes situation in Kharkiv Oblast amid Russian offensive
  • General Staff: Russian forces 'partially pushed out' from Vovchansk
  • Ukraine deploys more forces to Kharkiv Oblast
  • Blinken: US to give Ukraine additional $2 billion in military financing
  • Source: Ukraine's military intelligence drones strike oil depot in Russia's Rostov region

Ukrainian forces have managed to stabilize the situation in Kharkiv Oblast over the past day amid Russia's attempts to break through, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on May 15 in his evening address.

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

Zelensky received reports on the situation on the front line from soldiers and the Defense Ministry throughout the day, he said. The president added that authorities constantly monitor the combat activities in all front-line areas.

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War Notes

Zelensky said that Ukrainian forces continued defensive actions in Kharkiv Oblast, destroying Russian troops with "with all means."

"Artillery, drones, our infantry are working accurately," the head of state added.

The president also mentioned the situation in the Pokrovsk direction in Donetsk Oblast and Kupiansk in Kharkiv Oblast, which both remain two of the hottest areas of the front line.

Zelensky said that Russian troops had attempted to disperse Ukrainian units and push them back.

"We react to it exactly as necessary – in every direction, we must have something to respond with to the enemy," Zelensky said.

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General Staff: Russian forces 'partially pushed out' from Vovchansk

Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks in the Vovchansk direction in Kharkiv Oblast and "partially pushed out enemy forces from the town," the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces said on May 15.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said earlier the same day that small Russian infantry units had entered the northern part of Vovchansk and were attempting to establish a foothold there.

"Defensive operations continue on the northern and northwestern outskirts," the General Staff said in its report.

The military did not provide further details on the situation in the town.

Russian troops continue attacking in the direction of Lyptsi, a village 10 kilometers (6 miles) south of the Russian border and around 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Vovchansk, the report read.

Both Lyptsi and Mala Danylivka – a village on Kharkiv's outskirts – reportedly came under Russian airstrikes over the day.

Russia launched new offensive actions on May 10 in the north of Kharkiv Oblast toward Lyptsi and Vovchansk.

Ukraine deploys more forces to Kharkiv Oblast

More Ukrainian forces are being deployed to Kharkiv Oblast amid Russia's offensive in the region, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on May 15, following a meeting with top military commanders.

Russia launched a new offensive into northeastern Kharkiv Oblast on May 10, with 30,000 Russian soldiers reportedly involved in the operation.

Heavy battles are ongoing in the direction of the village of Lyptsi and the town of Vovchansk, where the local police chief reported Russian soldiers had taken up positions on the morning of May 15.

Nazar Voloshyn, the spokesperson of the Khortytsia group of forces, said on air on May 15 that the situation in the region has somewhat stabilized. Ukrainian forces repelled 11 Russian attacks in the area over the past day, Voloshyn said.

Zelensky discussed the situation with Chief of the General Staff Anatolii Barhylevych and Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces Oleksandr Syrskyi, as well as the heads of the State Border Guard Service and the National Guard.

"Additional forces are being deployed, there are reserves," the report from the Presidential Office said.

Zelensky has postponed all international trips planned for the coming days, the Presidential Office said. "We are grateful to our partners for their understanding."

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The first signs that something ominous is happening in Kharkiv come as soon as the train from Kyiv reaches the suburbs of the city – as two pillars of smoke appear in the distance, every single phone in the carriage erupts with a piercing electronic squawking. “I guess we’ve arrived,

Blinken: US to give Ukraine additional $2 billion in military financing

Washington will provide Ukraine with an additional $2 billion in foreign military financing, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on May 15.

Blinken made the announcement in Kyiv during a press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba. Blinken arrived in Kyiv on May 14.

Blinken described the new military financing support as "the first of its kind."

The support will not only help provide Ukraine with weapons that are needed today, but will also help the country invest in its own defense industrial base in the long term, Blinken said.

The military financing support will also assist Kyiv with purchasing military equipment from other countries, not just the U.S., Blinken said.

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"All of this, in particular thinking about the defense industrial base, builds on an incredible spirit of innovation, ingenuity, and entrepreneurship that we see here in Ukraine."

"Everyone's eyes are focused on the situation in the northeast," Biden added, referring to Ukraine's defense of Kharkiv Oblast.

"The newest support that I just announced, but particularly the $60 billion supplemental, we know is coming at a critical time."

Blinken said the U.S. is "rushing" to get ammunition, armored vehicles, and missiles to the front line.

The U.S. is working "to ensure Ukraine can deliver on the battlefield today," but also "deter and defend against future attacks and fundamentally secure for the Ukrainian people the right to decide their own future," Blinken said.

Source: Ukraine's military intelligence drones strike oil depot in Russia's Rostov region

Drones from Ukraine's military intelligence (HUR) attacked an oil base in the Rostov region of Russia overnight, a source in the agency told the Kyiv Independent on May 15.

The Rostov region's governor, Vasily Golubev, earlier said two drones hit a refinery in the Proletarsky district, causing two explosions on site, but claimed there was no subsequent fire or casualties.

The source did not provide any further details.

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WTF is wrong with Russia?

Ukrainian forces have launched a series of drone strikes aimed at damaging Russia's oil industry this spring. Kyiv says these attacks are carried out to undermine Russia's military operations and retaliate against Moscow's strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure.

Rostov Oblast borders Ukraine to the southeast. A previous attack on the region's Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery in March caused the plant to partially shut down operations.

Strikes against Russian energy targets have prompted criticism from U.S. officials, who have made it clear that Washington does not support Ukraine's attacks on oil refineries, citing fears that it could threaten the global energy market.

In response, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Kyiv has the right to use its own weapons to strike deep inside Russia.

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