Home Europe Ukraine President Admits Kharkiv Situation “Extremely Difficult”

Ukraine President Admits Kharkiv Situation “Extremely Difficult”


President Volodymyr Zelenskiy travelled to the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Thursday, describing the battlefield situation as “extremely difficult” but under control. This visit comes as Russia intensifies its new offensive beyond the border areas.

Ukrainian military forces are currently engaged in fierce battles with Russian troops in the northern districts of Vovchansk. Despite Russia’s push, Ukrainian forces have managed to prevent the invaders from breaking deeper into the border town, which lies approximately 45 km northeast of Kharkiv city.

Since Friday, the Russian advance into the northern Kharkiv region has made minor gains, putting pressure on Ukraine’s already strained defences. The delay in receiving Western weapons has further complicated the situation for Ukrainian forces.

“The direction remains extremely difficult – we are strengthening our units,” President Zelenskiy stated after a meeting in Kharkiv with his top commander and senior military leaders. Due to the deteriorating battlefield conditions, Zelenskiy has postponed all foreign trips.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city with a population of about 1.3 million, has endured months of relentless airstrikes. The city’s defenders are struggling to counter these attacks with depleted air defences, given its proximity to the border, just 30 km away.

Russian forces have launched two main thrusts into the Kharkiv region, with one aimed at capturing Vovchansk, located 5 km from the border. If successful, this would mark Moscow’s most significant gain in the incursion so far.

“The enemy’s plans to penetrate deeper into the town of Vovchansk and gain a foothold there were thwarted,” stated the Ukrainian General Staff. Defensive actions by Ukrainian forces have slowed the Russian advance, reducing the tempo of their push into the northern region.

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Ukraine has been urgently evacuating civilians from Vovchansk and other border areas, with approximately 8,000 people having fled their homes. Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko reported that Russian forces are taking civilians captive in northern Vovchansk, forcing them into basements.

Klymenko also accused Russian troops of killing a resident who attempted to escape on foot and refused their orders. These claims have not been independently verified by Reuters.

Russia claims to have taken control of 12 villages since launching its attack. According to a Russian-installed official in Ukraine, Russian forces are now preparing to capture the village of Lyptsi, about 30 km north of Kharkiv.

“Our guys are already on the outskirts. Work is beginning to liberate it, aviation and artillery are working constantly, they do not stop,” said Vitaly Ganchev.

The situation remains volatile, with both sides preparing for further engagements as the conflict continues to unfold.

With Inputs From Reuters