Russian Forces advancing near Kharkiv - the next few days are critical

12:12 15.05.2024 •

As Russia intensifies its military actions around the Kharkiv region, the conflict in Ukraine reaches a critical juncture, with implications that extend far beyond its borders. Russian forces have launched a series of attacks, aiming to broaden their control over strategic territory and exert influence in the region. As Ukrainian forces brace for the onslaught, the next few days are poised to be decisive in determining the trajectory of the conflict, writes UK News & Updates.

The recent escalation of hostilities has resulted in significant territorial gains for Moscow, with Russian forces capturing a number of villages. The speed and scale of the offensive have caught Ukrainian forces off guard, highlighting vulnerabilities in their defenses and underscoring the urgent need for reinforcements.

One of the key battlegrounds in the conflict is the northern Kharkiv region, where Russian forces have made significant inroads in recent days. Despite facing stiff resistance from Ukrainian troops, the Russians have managed to penetrate deep into Ukrainian territory, exploiting weaknesses in the country’s defenses and taking advantage of strategic positioning.

There are broader geopolitical implications at stake. The fate of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, hangs in the balance, with Russian forces seeking to either capture the city or render it uninhabitable through sustained bombardment. The outcome of the battle for Kharkiv will have far-reaching consequences for the future of the region and the prospects for peace and stability in Eastern Europe.

As the conflict enters a critical phase, the next few days will be pivotal in determining the course of events and shaping the future of the region.


As the two-year war enters a critical phase, Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv is in Russian sights. The signs are that this surge marks the start of a decisive battle that will be critical to the outcome of the war, writes POLITICO.

At  stake is not just control of one of Ukraine’s major centers but potentially the country’s capacity to keep fighting: If Kharkiv falls, Western resolve may soon follow.

On Sunday, Russia launched a two-pronged dawn attack in the area, and a fierce battle is now raging for control of a group of 30 towns and villages across an arc 30 kilometers north of Kharkiv. Some local officials told Ukrainian media Monday that poorly built fortifications are allowing the Russians to make advances.

Russia’s defense ministry claims its forces have captured five villages and inflicted 1,500 casualties on Ukraine in recent fighting.

Last month several senior officers talked to POLITICO on the understanding they would not be named so they could talk freely. They painted a grim forecast of frontlines potentially collapsing when Russia, with greater weight of numbers and a readiness to accept huge casualties, launches its expected offensive.

Perhaps worse, they expressed private fears that Ukraine’s own resolve could be weakened, with morale in the armed forces undermined. The fear is that Putin’s bet is paying off on grinding down Ukrainian resistance and exhausting Western support for Kyiv.

The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S.-based think tank, argues that Russian forces have been ordered to shape a buffer zone along the border and push towards Kharkiv. “Routine indirect fire, in combination with continued glide bomb and missile strikes, would likely be intended to set conditions for a larger offensive effort against Kharkiv city at a later date,” the institute said. But Russia doesn’t have to try to capture the city to control it.

Beyond Kharkiv, one risk Ukraine is facing is that Putin makes another attempt to take the area around the capital. As a precaution Ukrainian officials are planning to reinforce Kyiv.

Five of the 10 new brigades to be raised in the coming weeks will be deployed to protect the capital. But that strikes at one of the main criticisms of Zelenskyy and his government recently – namely that it has been slow to prepare for the Russian offensive and has only belatedly accepted that raising more troops is crucial.

Photo: AFP

Ukraine’s forces are stretched thin and have minimal reserves to draw on, the chief of military intelligence said, in addition to shortages of weapons.

“The situation is on the edge,” Gen. Kyrylo Budanov (‘Wanted’ in Russia), the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, said in a video call from a bunker in Kharkiv. “Every hour this situation moves toward critical.”

His bleak assessment echoed those of other Ukrainian officers in recent days, that the country’s military prospects were dimming. In addition to being outnumbered, the Ukrainians face critical shortages of weapons, especially artillery ammunition, and $60.8 billion worth of arms from the United States — approved three weeks ago after months of congressional gridlock — has barely begun to arrive.

Like most Ukrainian officials and military experts, General Budanov said he believes the Russian attacks in the northeast are intended to stretch Ukraine’s already thin reserves of soldiers and divert them from fighting elsewhere.

That is exactly what is happening now, he acknowledged. He said the Ukrainian army was trying to redirect troops from other front line areas to shore up its defenses in the northeast, but that it had been difficult to find the personnel.

“The enemy is currently achieving tactical success,” the General Staff of Ukraine acknowledged in a statement early Monday. It added later in the day that Russian forces had pushed closer to another settlement, Lukyantsi.

Zelensky is out of the mood...What next?
Photo: The Times


read more in our Telegram-channel