Zelensky in Kharkiv as Ukraine Claims to Partially Stop Russian Offensive - Latest Global News

Zelensky in Kharkiv as Ukraine Claims to Partially Stop Russian Offensive

Ukrainian leader meets senior military officials and wounded soldiers, saying situation is “very difficult” but “under control.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky traveled to the city of Kharkiv and said the situation in the northeast was “under control” after the military managed to partially halt a Russian advance and, most importantly, thwart an invasion of the key border town of Vovchansk.

“The situation in the Kharkiv region is largely under control and our soldiers are inflicting significant losses on the occupier. However, the area remains extremely difficult,” Zelensky said in a post on Telegram on Thursday, after hearing reports from his commanders in the capital of the Kharkiv region, where Russia launched a lightning attack last week.

The Ukrainian army said it had slowed down Russian troops during one of the toughest phases of the war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously said that Russia was advancing on “all fronts” and that the military was making major territorial gains in the Kharkiv region, claiming it had also captured areas in eastern Donetsk and southern Zaporizhzhia.

“The situation in the Kharkiv sector remains complicated, but is developing dynamically,” Ukrainian army spokesman Nazar Voloshin said on state television on Thursday. “Our defense forces have partially stabilized the situation. “The enemy’s advance in certain zones and locations has been stopped,” he added.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in a statement that the military managed to prevent Russian plans to “penetrate deeper into the city of Vovchansk and gain a foothold there.”

The capture of Vovchansk, 5km from the border, would have been Russia’s biggest gain since it began invading the region last Friday.

However, reports of progress in Ukraine were contradicted by Vitaly Ganchev, a Russian-appointed official in Ukraine. He claimed Vovchansk was “on the verge of complete liberation” and said Russian troops were approaching the village of Lyptsi, which lies on one of the main roads to Kharkiv.

He told Russian state television: “Our boys are already on the outskirts of the city. The work begins to free it, aviation and artillery work continuously, they do not stop.”


Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko accused Russia on Thursday of detaining and killing civilians in Vovchansk as it tried to enter.

“According to intelligence reports, the Russian military established a foothold in the city and did not allow residents to evacuate. They started kidnapping people and forcing them into basements,” he said.

He said there were reports that the Russian military had shot civilians. “One of the residents of Vovchansk tried to escape on foot, refused to follow the intruders’ orders and was killed by the Russians.”

The reports still need to be independently verified.

Russian soldiers have previously been accused of executing civilians in parts of Ukraine they had captured and controlled since the February 2022 invasion. In April 2022, the bodies of dozens of civilians, some with their hands tied, were found in the Kiev suburb of Bucha after a month-long occupation by Russian forces.

Ukraine has been forced to evacuate nearly 9,000 people from the Kharkiv region since Russia launched the new attack, the region’s governor Oleg Synegubov said on Thursday.

Between May 9 and 15, Russia made some of its most significant gains since December 2022, capturing 278 square kilometers (107 square miles) of territory, according to AFP calculations using data from the Institute for the Study of War.

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