Rescuers work at a house after a Russian missile attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 10, 2024.

Rescuers work at a house after a Russian missile attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 10, 2024. (Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy, Ukrinform via Zuma Press Wire/TNS)

(Tribune News Service) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia started a new offensive against territory around Ukraine’s second-biggest city as Kremlin forces moved to breach the border in the northeast.

Artillery has so far been able to repel the assault in the Kharkiv region, Zelenskyy said during a meeting with Slovak President Zuzana Caputova in Kyiv on Friday. Russia may pull more reserves to support the offensive and Ukraine’s armed forces are ready to resist them, he said.

The land assault follows weeks of an escalated bombardment of Kharkiv, less than an hour’s drive from the Russian border, which Ukrainian and Western officials said was an attempt to force the evacuation of civilians.

“Russia has begun a new wave of counteroffensive actions in this direction,” Interfax-Ukraine reported Zelenskyy as saying in remarks confirmed by his press service.

Vladimir Putin’s troops, supported by armored vehicles, attempted an assault from Russia near the town of Vovchansk in the early hours of Friday, the Defense Ministry in Kyiv said on Facebook. The attack, successfully repelled by Ukrainian forces, followed a night of heavy artillery shelling and bombing, the ministry said, adding that reinforcements were being sent to the area.

At least one civilian was killed and several wounded, regional Governor Oleh Synehubov said on Telegram. Ukrainian troops are holding their ground and the Russian assault doesn’t pose an immediate threat to Kharkiv, he said.

Local authorities have begun evacuating residents from Vovchansk and nearby villages, Tamaz Gambarashvili, the head of the town’s military administration, told Hromadske Radio.

The attack near Vovchansk, situated about three miles from the frontier with Russia, aims to cut into territory which Ukraine liberated in the first year of the war.

While the area has suffered regular bombardment, the ground assault may signal that Russia is seeking to take back the territory which it temporarily occupied in the early phase of the invasion.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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