Russia is trying to launch a ground attack on the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv News of the Russian-Ukrainian war

Ukrainian forces are fighting to stop a new Russian offensive aimed at creating the “buffer zone” planned by Putin.

Russian forces attempted an armored ground invasion of the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine with artillery and guided aerial bombs, Ukrainian officials said.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said on Friday that Russian forces attempted to penetrate Ukrainian defenses near the town of Vovchansk using “armored vehicles” at 5 a.m. (02:00 GMT), and hit an area near the border with air attacks. She added that the attack was repelled, but “battles of varying intensity” continued.

A senior Ukrainian military source told Reuters news agency that Russian forces penetrated one kilometer into the area. He said they aimed to advance up to 10 kilometers (six miles) to create the buffer zone that Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to create earlier this year as a way to stop Ukrainian attacks on Russian border regions.

Ukraine had previously said that it was aware that Russia was gathering thousands of troops along the northeastern border. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his forces were ready for a ground attack.

“Ukraine received them there with forces: brigades and artillery,” he said at a press conference.

Ukraine sent more troops to the region as reinforcements.

Vitaly Ganchev, the official installed by Russia in the Kharkiv region, said on the Telegram app that “fighting is taking place on several parts of the contact line, including the border areas,” and asked residents to “be careful and not leave.” Shelter without urgent need.”

Kharkiv state governor Oleh Sinyhopov said that authorities were evacuating about 3,000 civilians from Vovchansk, less than five kilometers from the border, which had been subjected to heavy shelling.

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New front

Ukraine expelled Russian forces from most of the Kharkiv region in 2022, the first year of the war, but after withstanding a Ukrainian counterattack last year, Russian forces are back on the offensive and are slowly advancing into the Donetsk region to the south.

[Al Jazeera]

Concerns grew in March about the Kremlin’s intentions in the Kharkiv region when Putin called for the creation of a buffer zone inside Ukrainian territory when asked whether he thought it was necessary to seize Kharkiv, which borders Belgorod, a Russian province under regular attack from Russia. Ukraine.

Since then, Kharkiv, which is particularly vulnerable due to its proximity to Russia, has been hit by air strikes that have caused severe damage to the region’s energy infrastructure.

Friday’s attack opens a new front, with Russia reportedly determined to exploit the opportunity to make small tactical gains while Ukraine remains outgunned and outnumbered.

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said they need more weapons from the West to hold out and eventually push back Russian forces. Zelensky said on Thursday that a $61 billion US military aid package would turn things around.

The progress came Friday in Kharkiv as Ukraine began receiving long-awaited packages of US military aid for the first time in weeks. On Friday, a high-ranking Ukrainian military source told Reuters that Ukraine expects to deliver US-made F-16 fighter jets in June and July.

The Ukrainian parliament voted on Thursday in favor of taking tough measures against draft evaders, at a time when the country suffers from a serious shortage of soldiers available to fight in the war that has been going on for more than two years.

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The bill, which has the support of a majority of lawmakers but has not yet been signed into law by Zelensky, includes increased fines for anyone caught trying to avoid a summons and allows authorities to detain draft evaders for up to three days.

This comes in the same week in which Parliament approved A invoice Allowing some convicts to be recruited into the army, days before the new mobilization law, which lowers the minimum age for new recruits, comes into effect.

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