May 20, 2024

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News, situation in Ukraine and more

Ukrainian officials point to further Russian advances amid the ongoing offensive in the Kharkiv region

Rescue workers help Lyudmila Kalashnyk, 88, after the evacuation of Vovchansk, Ukraine, on May 12. (Evgeny Maloletka/AP)

Ukrainian officials suggested further advances by Russian forces on Wednesday in the Kharkiv region, as Moscow continues its advance into northeastern Ukraine.

Vovchansk, located about 60 kilometers (or about 37 miles) northeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, is seeing some of the heaviest fighting in areas near the border, and a police officer said Russian forces were already in the area.

Urging residents to evacuate, Oleksiy Kharkovsky, head of patrol at the Vovchansk Police Department, said: “The situation in Vovchansk is very difficult. The enemy is taking up positions on the streets of Vovchansk.”

General Serhiy “Marcel” Melnyk, commander of the Kharkiv City Defense Forces, also indicated changes in Ukrainian positions in Vovchansk and a possible tactical withdrawal.

“Intense fighting continues. In some areas, near Vovchansk and Lukhyntsy, Ukrainian defenders have been forced to move to more suitable positions to use their forces more effectively and defend the area from attack,” Melnyk said on Wednesday.

Melnik said that at least 24 people, including four children, were injured as a result of Russian bombing in several parts of the Kharkiv region on Wednesday.

Ukrainian monitoring group DeepStateMap noted on Wednesday that Russian forces have reached the northeastern regions of Vovchansk as they continue their advance south into Ukrainian territory. Russian forces took control of more than nine villages near the border in recent days.

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According to Roman Semenukha, Deputy Head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration, mandatory evacuations continue in all settlements located on the northern border. Nearly 8,000 people have been evacuated from these areas since May 10, when Russia launched its attack.