Ukraine evacuated nearly 10,000 people in the Kharkiv region

Nearly ten thousand people were forced to leave their homes in the Kharkiv region, northeast of Ukraine, following a ground attack by Russian forces. “In total, 9,907 people were evacuated”, declared Governor Oleg Synegoubov, Saturday, May 18. It comes more than a week after the launch of the Russian assault, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned could be just the first wave of a larger offensive.

Russia for its part claimed on Saturday to have seized the village of Staritsa, near Vovtchansk, a town located around fifty kilometers from Kharkiv. Moscow assures that its forces “continue their advance deep into the enemy’s defensive positions”. According to Oleg Synegubov, Russian forces “began to destroy Vovchansk, using tanks and artillery”. The town had some 18,000 inhabitants before the war. About a hundred people are still there and “violent fighting” are taking place, according to the governor of the Kharkiv region.

For Volodymyr Zelensky, Russia wants to attack the city of Kharkiv, the country’s second city, only a few dozen kilometers from the front. Moscow had already failed to take it in 2022 and Vladimir Putin said on Friday that it had no intention of attacking it. “for the moment”. The Russian offensive officially aims, according to Vladimir Putin, to respond to Ukrainian strikes in recent months on Russian territory and create a buffer zone supposed to prevent these strikes.

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