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Updated: Ukraine refutes Kadyrov's claims about captured Sumy Oblast border village

by Kateryna Denisova June 10, 2024 9:52 AM 2 min read
Illustrative purposes only: A Ukrainian flag flies outside a building in the city center damaged by Russian shelling, Okhtyrka, Sumy Oblast, northeastern Ukraine. (Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Editor's note: This story was updated with comments from the president and the governor.

No Russian troops are present in the border village of Ryzhivka in Sumy Oblast as of the morning of June 10, President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

Russia attempted to carry out a "propaganda operation" in Ryzhivka, but Ukrainian forces "fully control the situation," according to Zelensky.

His statement came after Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov claimed on June 9 that soldiers of the Akhmat-Chechnya regiment captured the Ukrainian village, sharing a video on Telegram purported to show their presence and fighting in the settlement.

"As of the morning, the Russian flag in the village was destroyed," Zelensky said.

Ryzhivka, where reportedly fewer than 10 people remained as of the end of May, is 2 kilometers from Russia's Kursk Oblast.  

According to the crowd-sourced DeepState monitoring service that tracks changes on the front line, the village is in a "grey zone," and Russian sabotage groups are regularly attempting to break into it.

"They (Akhmat-Chechnya regiment) could have carried out this action on any other day of the year," DeepState wrote.

Volodymyr Artiukh, Sumy Oblast governor, also said that there are no Russian soldiers in the region.

The village of Ryzhivka on the DeepState's map. (DeepState)

Andrii Kovalenko, the head of an anti-disinformation department at the National Security and Defense Council, said there are no activities in the border area of Sumy Oblast, calling Kadyrov's claims a part of an information operation.

"As of now, this is not the beginning of what happened in Kharkiv Oblast. The defense forces are in control of the situation," Kovalenko said.

The Ukrainian military is yet to comment on the situation in Ryzhivka.

Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine's military intelligence chief, suggested in mid-May that Russian forces may launch an offensive in Sumy Oblast similar to the one in Kharkiv Oblast when the conditions are more favorable.

Moscow failed to fulfill its Kharkiv operation, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on June 8. In late May, Zelensky warned that Russia is forming another grouping of troops near Ukraine's northern border.

Since the Russian-occupied parts of Sumy Oblast were liberated in early April 2022, the region has been experiencing daily strikes from across the border, as it is located on Ukraine's northeastern border with Russia.

Ukrainian authorities ordered further evacuations from the region amid intensified attacks.

Fortifications put strain on already struggling farmers in Sumy Oblast
Viacheslav Dydarenko, a farmer in the Myropillia community in Sumy Oblast that borders Russia typifies the hardship faced by the agricultural sector in the area. Shrapnel scars and gaping holes mark his farm buildings, and he cannot work some of his rented 4,450 acres — 70% of which is located
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