Ukraine prepared for Russian attack on Kharkiv region: Zelenskiy

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ukrainian forces had been prepared for a new Russian ground assault on Friday on the border of the northeastern Kharkiv region, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

He also warned that Moscow could send more troops to the area.

Russian forces launched an armoured ground attack near Ukraine’s second city of Kharkiv in the northeast of the country and made limited gains, opening a new front in a war that has long been waged in the east and south.

“Russia started a new wave of offensive actions in this direction (Kharkiv region). Ukraine met them there with troops: brigades and artillery. It is important to understand that they can increase and bring more forces in this direction. It is a fact. But our military and military commanders were aware of it and considered its forces in order to meet the enemy with artillery fire,” said Zelenskiy.

He added: “Severe artillery fighting is happening now in this direction as far as I know as of approx. 7-8 a.m. (0400-0500GMT). We met them with artillery fire. And I believe we stopped the enemy with artillery fire as far as I know as of morning.”

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

The source said Russia’s forces were aiming to push the Ukrainian armed forces as far back as 10 km (6.2 miles) inside Ukraine as part of an effort to create a buffer zone, but that Kyiv’s troops were trying to hold them back.

There was no immediate comment from Russia.