Russia Launches Surprise Offensive In Kharkiv, Aims To Extend Border 10km Deep Into Ukraine

By TYLER DURDEN – Zerohedge

Following several more cross-border attacks from Ukraine, including direct drone hits on Russian oil facilities over the past 48 hours, Russian forces have launched a surprise ground offensive which seeks to break through front lines in the northeastern Kharkiv border region on Friday.

“Russia launched a new wave of counteroffensive actions… Ukraine met them there with our troops, brigades, and artillery,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed of the new action in a briefing. “Now there is a fierce battle underway.”

Civilians have also been witnessed fleeing border areas in droves as heavy fighting ensues. Already Moscow forces have penetrated at least 1 kilometer deep in what’s being described as an effort to create a larger ‘buffer zone’ in order to help prevent Ukrainian attacks from reaching Russian territory.

Ukraine’s defense ministry said that the new offensive began at 5am local time with armored vehicles leading the charge of infantry troops in this major effort to effectively push the border itself deeper into Ukraine territory.

Kharkiv region on fire amid a major surprise Russian offensive:

But Ukraine defense officials have claimed, “As of now, these attacks have been repulsed; battles of varying intensity continue.”

The AFP has written, “If Moscow’s advances are confirmed, it would represent the Russian military’s largest land operation in the region since sending thousands of troops across the border in February 2022.”

Below: the center of Vovchansk after heavy fighting…

Heavy shelling is also taking place, especially in the vicinity of Vovchansk, which is a border town of a few thousand people but which had a pre-war population of 17,000. According to further unfolding details:

Kharkiv region’s governor said the length of the border and the settlements in it were a “grey zone” and confirmed active fighting taking place.

A senior Ukrainian military source who declined to be named said Russian forces had pushed 1 km (0.6 mile) inside the Ukrainian border near Vovchansk.

The source said Russian forces were aiming to push Ukrainian troops as far back as 10 km inside Ukraine as part of an effort to create a buffer zone, but that Kyiv’s troops were trying to hold them back.

Kharkiv, which is Ukraine’s second-largest city and sits very close to the border, has been attacked heavily by airstrikes for months, and has had its energy infrastructure severely downgraded in the attacks.


Ukraine regional governor Oleg Synegubov described that “Enemy shelling from various types of weapons has been intensifying in Kharkiv region in the northern area for the last day.” He further wrote on Telegram while confirming at least two civilians killed, “In Kharkiv region, evacuation routes have been developed since 2022, and a system of humanitarian aid distribution, temporary resettlement.”

The Russian side is also urging civilians to seek immediate safety amid the heavy border fighting. “There is fighting on several parts of the line of contact, including in the border areas of Kharkiv region,” Vitaliy Ganchev, a Russian officials overseeing the Kharkiv region stated on Telegram. “In this regard, I ask residents living in these areas to be careful and not to leave shelters without an urgent need.”

This week at least eight Russian civilians have died in the Belgorod region after Ukraine forces sent more drones across the border. Also, Ukrainian drone slammed into an oil refinery in central Russia’s Kaluga region south of Moscow overnight.

And the day prior, a drone struck an oil refinery in Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan, which is a first of the conflict. It reportedly involved a long-range, slow moving drone flying at a low altitude. This has raised questions of the current state of Russia’s anti-air defenses.

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