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Zelensky: Russia’s Kharkiv Oblast offensive could be first of several waves

by Kateryna Denisova May 18, 2024 11:22 AM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky in his office in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Presidential Office)
This audio is created with AI assistance

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Russia's offensive in Kharkiv Oblast this month could be the first of several waves, and Russian forces may try for the regional capital of Kharkiv, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with AFP on May 17.

Russia launched new offensive actions on May 10 in the north of Kharkiv Oblast toward Lyptsi and Vovchansk, a town located less than 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the Russian border and around 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the city of Kharkiv.

Russian troops managed to advance as far as 10 kilometers (6 miles) as a result, Zelensky said earlier on May 17.

The Russian military's advance was stopped by Ukraine's first line of defense and the situation in the region has stabilized, according to Zelensky.

"They (Russia) started their (offensive) operation. It could consist of several waves. There was the first wave (in Kharkiv Oblast), and the situation there is controlled," the president told AFP.

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Ukraine's military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov suggested on May 14 that Russian forces may launch a similar offensive in Sumy Oblast when the conditions are more favorable.

"We have to be sober and understand that they (Russian troops) are going deeper into our territory. Not vice versa. And that's still their advantage," Zelensky said.

Ukraine's second-largest city of Kharkiv is a major Russian target, but Moscow understands that it would be "very difficult" to try to take it.

"It is a big city, and they understand that we have forces that will fight for a long time," Zelensky added.

48 hours in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s most-bombed major city
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,

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