Russia intensifies ground assault in Kharkiv region
05/16/2024 // Richard Brown // Views

Russian forces escalated their ground assault in Ukraine's Kharkiv region on Monday, May 13, launching attacks in new areas with small groups aimed at expanding the front and testing Ukrainian defenses, according to Kharkiv Governor Oleh Syniehubov. This strategic move is designed to divert Ukrainian forces from the eastern front, where Russia has been steadily advancing.

Syniehubov described the situation as challenging, highlighting the deliberate strategy of the Russian military to widen the front lines by initiating attacks in various directions.

The escalation began on May 10 when Russian troops advanced near Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, opening a new northeastern front in the ongoing conflict, which has primarily focused on the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine. (Related: Russia ramping up production of weapons, ammunition ahead of expected offensive.)

In response to the heightened Russian offensive, Ukraine appointed Brigadier General Mykhailo Drapatyi to lead the defense on the Kharkiv front. Drapatyi, previously in charge of operations in the southern Kherson region in November 2022 and serving as deputy head of the General Staff, now oversees defense efforts in this crucial area.

Facing challenges due to a slowdown in Western military aid, particularly from the United States, the Ukrainian military is struggling to counter the larger Russian forces effectively. Despite these obstacles, Ukrainian forces are reportedly holding back Russian advances, although there is a persistent threat of the conflict spreading to more areas.

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Russian military sources claimed to have captured nine villages in the Kharkiv region and reported further progress, asserting that their troops had strengthened their positions and inflicted significant losses on Ukrainian territorial defense forces.

The Ukrainian military acknowledged some "tactical successes" by Russian forces in their daily update and indicated plans to deploy reserves to stabilize the situation. Intense fighting persists around the town of Vovchansk, located approximately five kilometers from the Russian border.

Syniehubov stated that about 5,700 people had been evacuated from the Vovchansk area, urging the remaining approximately 300 residents to evacuate due to the escalating military activities.

Blinken meets with Zelensky, conveys America's unwavering support for Ukraine

On Tuesday, May 14, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made his inaugural visit to Kyiv, marking the Biden administration's first official presence in Ukraine since the delayed approval of U.S. supplementary funding to the war-torn nation.

During his visit, Blinken met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and delivered a speech emphasizing the United States' unwavering support for Ukraine across various domains, including military aid, economic assistance, energy cooperation and the promotion of democratic institutions.

The visit comes at a critical juncture as Russia intensifies its offensive in northeastern Ukraine, making significant advances in the region over the past week. Blinken aims to convey a strong message of reassurance to the Ukrainian people amid these challenges.

Blinken's trip follows the recent approval of a $95 billion foreign aid package by U.S. President Joe Biden, which includes nearly $61 billion earmarked for Ukraine. This funding was secured after a six-month effort by the White House to garner support.

In addition to discussing the implementation of aid packages, Blinken will engage in talks about long-term security commitments and bilateral agreements with Ukrainian officials, including Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. He will also meet with representatives from civil society and the private sector to discuss Ukraine's economic recovery and ongoing security challenges.

As Ukraine faces a challenging situation exacerbated by delays in U.S. support, Blinken and U.S. officials acknowledge the urgency of providing assistance to counter Russian aggression.

Watch this video about Russia opening a new front in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

This video is from the High Hopes channel on

More related stories:

Russia accuses Ukraine of using American-made chemical weapons.

Ukraine RUNNING OUT of soldiers to fight Russia.

Ukraine will JOIN NATO, Blinken announces, signaling imminent WWIII with Russia.

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