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Ukrainian Gunners Finally Get Artillery Shells To Stop Advancing Russian Forces Near Kharkiv


Ukrainian servicemen have finally got artillery shells to push back Russian advances into their country. The holdup by the US Congress of billions of dollars of military aid has hurt Ukraine It has ensured that Moscow has been able to push its advances on the frontlines and on the eastern front.

Ukrainian aid delayed

With the $61 billion aid package belatedly approved by Congress last month, Ukraine’s gunners say the crippling shortages are starting to ease. They are able to operate howitzers with more ease knowing that they have the shells to repel Russian attacks.

Ukrainian soldiers fighting in the northern district of Kharkiv say the fighting is more intense here than the one in Bakhmut. Bakhmut is a town in eastern Ukraine which was seized by Russia last year and reduced to rubble by months by fighting.

Pavlo, a gunner of Ukraine’s 92nd Separate Assault brigade, confirms that the fighting is much “hotter” here. “We were positioned in the Bakhmut area before, now we have been transferred here. It’s much ‘hotter’ here. We didn’t have shells there. Here, at least we have shells, they started delivering them. We have something to work with, to fight.”

Russian advances

Russian forces have pushed across the border earlier this month and say they have captured about a dozen villages. The town of Vovchansk, five kilometres (three miles) inside the border, remains the focal point of the incursion.

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Ukrainian forces control about 60% of the town and are fighting house-to-house to fend off Russian attacks. Military analysts say that capturing Vovchansk would be Russia’s most significant gain since launching the assault. Kharkiv lies just 70 km away.

Holding the line

Vitalii, commander of the brigade’s artillery unit, says the Ukrainians are confident the shells will keep coming. He emphasises that everyone here knows the importance of holding the line. Pointing out that while they are up against a “large and serious enemy group” he adds that now it is the time for stiff resolve.

“If we can demonstrate now that we are able in such an extreme situation to stop the enemy’s big scale assault on Kharkiv and Kharkiv region, the enemy will not dare to think of attacking Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy or Poltava region.”