Ukraine troops fighting ‘fierce battles’ against Vlad’s invading forces in Kharkiv as thousands flee homes amid barrage

Ukraine troops fighting ‘fierce battles’ against Vlad’s invading forces in Kharkiv as thousands flee homes amid barrage

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THOUSANDS of civilians have fled their homes in Kharkiv as Ukrainian troops fight “fiercely” against Russian invaders.

Kyiv is valiantly repulsing the attacks of Vladimir Putin’s troops after launching a new assault on the Ukrainian region on Friday, threatening to open a new front in the 27-month war.

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A wounded Ukrainian soldier following Russia’s latest attack in the Kharkhiv region[/caption]

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Military paramedics treating a fellow comrade before loading him into an emergency vehicle[/caption]

Reuters

Residents from Vovchansk and nearby villages have been forced to pack up and evacuate their homes[/caption]

Russia claims to have already taken almost a dozen villages from Ukraine

Ukraine’s military chief said on Sunday his country’s forces were facing a difficult situation in fighting in the Kharkiv region, just hours after Moscow confirmed the capture of five villages.

Russia has since said it had captured four more villages, despite Ukraine’s leadership not confirming Moscow’s gains, as Kyiv battles for control of the settlements.

“Units of the Defence Forces are fighting fierce defensive battles, the attempts of the Russian invaders to break through our defences have been stopped,” Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi wrote on the Telegram app.

“The situation is difficult, but the Defence Forces of Ukraine are doing everything to hold defensive lines and positions, inflict damage on the enemy,” he added.

Ukraine is currently on the defensive against Russia, which has a significant advantage in manpower and munitions.

Kyiv says several months of delays by the US Congress to vote through a massive aid package have cost it on the battlefield.

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It now hopes significant quantities of the newly approved assistance will arrive quickly to shore up the defence effort.

The intense battles have forced at least one Ukrainian unit to withdraw in the Kharkiv region, capitulating more land to Russian forces across less defended settlements in the so-called contested gray zone” along the Russian border.

Thousands more civilians have now fled Russia’s renewed ground offensive in Ukraine’s northeast that has targeted towns and villages with a barrage of artillery and mortar fire, officials said Sunday.

At least 4,000 civilians have fled the Kharkiv region since Friday, when Moscow’s forces launched the operation, Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said in a social media statement.


Heavy fighting raged Sunday along the northeast front line, where Russian forces attacked 27 settlements in the past 24 hours, he said.

Russia’s defence ministry announced the new gains a day after claiming that five villages had been seized in the region in a part of Ukraine from where Russian troops had been pushed back nearly two years ago.

The ministry said its forces had “advanced deeply into the enemy defences” and taken villages including Gatishche, Krasnoye, Morokhovets and Oleinikovo.

The US-based Institute for the Study of War said it believed Moscow’s claims were accurate, based off geolocated footage showing the location of Russian forces.

It described the recent Russian gains as tactically significant.

But the Ukrainian army said it was managing to hold back further Russian advances.

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At an evacuation point near the front line in Kharkiv region were groups of people who had been evacuated from around the town of Vovchansk, most of them elderly and disoriented.

“We weren’t going to leave. Home is home,” said 72-year-old Lyuda Zelenskaya, hugging a trembling cat named Zhora.

Liuba Konovalova, 70 said she had endured a “really terrifying” night before her evacuation.

Around them, volunteers assisted evacuees towards a few wooden benches where they registered and received food before being evacuated toward Kharkiv, the regional capital.

“In total, 4,073 people have been evacuated,” Kharkiv regional governor Oleg Synegubov wrote on social media.

Ukraine has reported several civilians killed in the offensive.

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Residents of the Vovchansk district, the majority of them elderly, board buses to Kharkhiv city following the attacks[/caption]

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Another group of people at an evacuation point[/caption]

EPA

A residential building damaged and charred from the recent shelling amid Russia’s invasion[/caption]

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Firefighters finish extinguishing the fire at the site of a Russian missile strike[/caption]

Synegubov said the latest casualty, a 63-year-old man, was killed by artillery fire in the village of Glyboke.

Oleksiy Kharkivsky, a senior police officer from Vovchansk helping to coordinate evacuations, said “several people” had been killed by shelling on Saturday and one person was found dead in rubble overnight.

“The city is constantly under fire,” he said.

“Everything in the city is being destroyed… You hear constant explosions, artillery, mortars. The enemy is hitting the city with everything they have,” he said.

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Kharkivsky estimated that around 1,500 people had been evacuated or fled Vovchansk since Friday and there had been 32 drone strikes on the town over the past 24 hours.

He said evacuation teams had come under fire “many times”.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday that Ukrainian troops had been carrying out counterattacks in the border villages.

“Disrupting Russian offensive plans is now our number one task,” he said.

Troops must “return the initiative to Ukraine”, the president insisted, again urging allies to speed up arms deliveries.

Ukrainian officials had warned for weeks that Moscow might try to attack its northeastern border regions, pressing its advantage as Ukraine struggles with delays in Western aid and manpower shortages.

Ukrainian soldiers said the Kremlin is using the usual Russian tactic by launching a disproportionate amount of fire and infantry assaults to exhaust their troops and firepower.

It comes after Russia stepped up attacks in March targeting energy infrastructure and settlements, which analysts predicted were a concerted effort by Moscow to shape conditions for an offensive.

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Ukraine has released footage believed to show Russian tanks in Kharkiv[/caption]

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A private household lies destroyed by a Russian missile strike on Friday[/caption]

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A fire broke out in a nearby forest in the aftermath of Russian shelling[/caption]

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