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Zelensky says Kharkiv is prepared for a potential Russian offensive

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 6, 2024 10:25 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky inspects fortifications in Chernihiv Oblast during his visit on April 5, 2024. (Presidential Office)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview on April 6 that "Kharkiv is protected" in case Russia attempts to launch an offensive.

Russia recently intensified attacks on Kharkiv. A number of media outlets have reported that Russia may launch a ground offensive against Ukraine's second-largest city this year.

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 a ground offensive.

"Today, Kharkiv is not in danger," Zelensky said, referring to the local defensive lines and the readiness of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

"Russians do not hide that it (Kharkiv) is a desirable target," Zelensky said.

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Zelensky added that Kyiv monitors all "Russia's disinformation and Russian forces' movement on the front line."

Russian troops could redeploy their forces "in one or another direction," the president said.

Zelensky also said that Ukrainian authorities don't see a potential for an attack from Belarus. Yet, Ukrainian forces prepare a "reliable defense" in the northern direction.

According to Zelensky, building new defensive lines will be finished "in a few months." The president also highlighted that 92-98% of the fortifications are completed along the most critical front lines.

In March, Zelensky announced that Ukraine was building 2,000 kilometers of fortifications across three lines of defense.

The Ukrainian government has already allocated Hr 20 billion ($512 million) for building fortifications in 2024,  Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said in April.

Earlier, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Ukrainian troops are building fortifications in expectation of a Russian offensive in the spring, though there are concerns that the progress is not fast enough.

Zelensky: Russia prepares to mobilize additional 300,000 troops by June
Russia is preparing to mobilize an additional 300,000 soldiers by June 1, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on April 3 in Kyiv during a joint press conference with his Finnish counterpart, Alexander Stubb, Interfax-Ukraine reported.

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