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Yermak: Russian counteroffensive could start in May or June, Kharkiv likely to be targeted

by Kateryna Hodunova April 6, 2024 8:56 AM 2 min read
Ukraine's Presidential Office head Andriy Yermak attends the "Ukraine Year 2024" forum in Kyiv on Feb. 25, 2024. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images)
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Editor's note: Andriy Yermak's spokesperson clarified on April 6 that Yermak's comments for Politico were misinterpreted by the outlet. The head of the Presidential Office referred only to Russian missile strikes against Kharkiv, not a potential offensive. We reported on the latest developments here.

Russia could launch a new counteroffensive at the end of May or the beginning of June, likely targeting Kharkiv, Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine's Presidential Office, told Politico on April 5.

Russia recently intensified attacks on Kharkiv amid warnings of a potential assault against Ukraine's second-largest city, as reported by the independent Russian media outlet Meduza, citing anonymous sources.

Nevertheless, Ukraine's military intelligence called the potential attack on Kharkiv "a part of a Russian psychological operation," adding that there were no signs of Moscow preparing new attack formations to carry out an offensive.

Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces Oleksandr Syrskyi also said that any Russia's attempt to take control over Kharkiv soon could be  "fatal," but he did not rule out this scenario either.

Yermak stressed that Kyiv knows that the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is preparing a new wave of mobilization, and Ukrainian forces "have to be ready" for new attacks.

The head of Ukraine's Presidential Office also said that "Ukraine is approaching a critical moment," referring to the U.S. aid being stalled due to the disputes in the Republican-led House.

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Yermak hopes that aid will pass the vote in Congress "this month" as Ukrainian forces continue to face critical ammunition shortages on the front line.

"I don't believe anybody who represents the party of Ronald Reagan will abandon Ukraine," Yermak said.

"Reagan understood the Soviet Union and Russia, and anyone who does will continue to support our fighters because they understand that dictators never stop voluntarily and have to be stopped."

Yermak also said that Ukraine still critically needs additional air defense systems, recalling the latest Russian attacks carried out with aerial guided bombs, which Patriot surface-to-air missiles can counter by intercepting Russian aircraft.

"Without them (modern air defense systems), it is impossible for us to defend our cities," he added.

As Russia intensified its attacks on Ukraine during the spring, the shortage of air defense systems in Ukrainian cities and villages became more tangible.

According to President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russia reportedly launched over 400 missiles of various types, 600 Shahed drones, and 3,000 guided aerial bombs at Ukraine in March, causing severe damage to the civilian and energy infrastructure.

‘Our reserves will run out:’ Ukrainian artillery sounds alarm on Western shell shortage
Hiding beneath sparse winter cover in a crude, muddy ditch, a great steel monster lies in wait for an opportunity to attack. Adorned on either side with painted plus signs, the gun’s huge barrel looks up at the sky over the Bakhmut front line, across which thousands

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