Russian offensive in Kharkiv region: six villages captured as Volchansk situation deteriorates

On the morning of May 10, the Russian army began a limited assault in the north of Kharkiv region. As of May 12, according to DeepState, the Russians have occupied the following six settlements: Strelecha, Pylna, Krasne, Borisovka, Ogurcove, and Pletenivka.

Denis Yaroslavsky, a Ukrainian unit commander, states that Russian troops are amassing reserves and skirmishes have begun in the vicinity of Volchansk. "Street fighting has commenced; the town is becoming surrounded. I am stating this because we could perish and the truth may never be heard. Otherwise, what is it all for? There weren't even the first lines of fortifications and mine fields. The enemy entered the grey zone along the entire border line which should not, in principle, have been grey at all! In two years, there should have been three lines of concrete fortifications at the Ukrainian border – not an absence of mines. We are coming to the conclusion that this situation is either due to incredible theft or deliberate sabotage," declared the military officer.

Oleksiy Kharkovsky, a Ukrainian police officer from the Volchansk police department, indicates that the situation is deteriorating. Russian forces are shelling the area. "The situation in Volchansk has worsened. The city is almost destroyed, with hardly any people left. If possible, people should move to designated locations and patrols will evacuate them. Contact us at 102," the law enforcement official stated in a video.

Meanwhile, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksandr Syrskyi has reported that the situation in the north of Kharkiv province is complicated. Clashes are ongoing at the border with the Russian Federation. "The situation is complex, but the Ukrainian Defense Forces are doing everything possible to maintain defensive lines and positions, inflicting defeats on the enemy," Syrskyi revealed.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine has announced the evacuation of 1,067 individuals from Volchansk, Tsyrkuny and adjacent territorial communities, continuing amidst heavy bombardments by the Russian Federation. Up to 500 people remain in Volchansk, said Oleh Synegubov, Chairman of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration.

Andriy Yusov, a representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, claimed that they were aware of Russian troop plans. "Everything is happening according to the schedule we informed all required authorities. Now the enemy is suffering substantial losses. It's clear that the General Staff, in particular, will release all the necessary information," Yusov explained. He also noted that due to the size of the Russian force and their casualties, a decision was made to establish an additional prisoner-of-war camp. Therefore, Yusov encouraged Russians to surrender, stating there have been such occurrences already. Special forces of the Main Intelligence Directorate are also participating in the fighting in the Kharkiv region, with soldiers from the Moscow and Leningrad military districts being deployed by Russia.

Military-political analyst Alexander Kovalenko notes that the Russians’ sole purpose is to compel Ukrainian soldiers to reallocate reserves to the Kharkiv direction to divert resources from other fronts. Kharkiv faces no immediate threat of encirclement or capture.

Over two days, Russian forces focused their attacks on Pletenivka and Ogirtsove followed by attempts to advance towards Gatishche, Streleche, Pylna, Borisivka, and Krasne, but their aim of immediately securing Volchansk and advancing towards Liptsy failed. In fact, all these villages except for Volchansk were in the grey zone after being de-occupied in 2022 due to their location practically on the border with the Russian Federation.

Fortifications or positioning so close to the border with the Russian Federation were impossible. The Russian Armed Forces future actions will concentrate on attempts to capture Volchansk, to advance towards Liptsy, and to activate movements along the E-105 route with the objective of reaching Kozacha Lopan. However, any operations for the Russian Armed Forces come at a high cost and are limited in potential even in the initial operation phase, the analyst continues.

The Institute for the Study of War believes that Russia's northern assault in the Kharkiv region aims to threaten Ukrainian forces in the Kupyansk direction. They also surmise that Russia seeks to compel the relocation of Ukrainian Army reserves from the Donetsk region to the Kharkiv region to facilitate the complete occupation of Donetsk region. Ukraine is currently weakened due to a lack of support from the USA and a shortfall of personnel in its army. Russia has prepared for this moment, hence the assaults from new directions. They have a matter of weeks before the US arms supply accumulates momentum.

  War in Ukraine, Kharkiv, Volchansk