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Russia says new border attack in northern Ukraine

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Ukraine rushed reinforcements to its northern border on Friday after Russian troops tried to breach several Ukrainian defense lines, putting new pressure on Ukrainian forces already stretched along a 600-mile front.

The Russian attack reportedly began around 5 a.m. on Friday with massive artillery and aerial bombardment of Ukrainian positions, followed by armored columns trying to break through at several points along the border. a statement From the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

“So far, these attacks have been repelled and fighting of varying intensity continues,” the Ministry of Defense said. “To strengthen the defense of this area of ​​the frontline, reserve forces have been deployed.”

President Volodymyr Zelensky told a briefing in Kyiv with Slovak President Zuzana Caputova that Russian troops encountered “our troops, brigades and artillery”, adding: “This There was a heavy battle going on in that direction – we met them with fire.”

Still, the fighting continued Friday afternoon. Ukrainian troops across the entire front are severely depleted and severely short on ammunition, and it’s unclear what kind of resistance they will be able to mount if Russia continues its advance.

The breadth and intent of Russia’s push along the border also remains unclear.Military analysts say Russia may be trying to force Ukraine to spend precious resources defending the region, as Russia has Attacks in eastern Ukraine is intensifying.

Ukrainian officials and Western military analysts say Moscow may lack the combat power to conquer Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, 20 miles from the Russian border. A senior U.S. military official on Friday described new developments in Russia as tentative rather than full media coverage, but acknowledged that the “fog of war” there clouded the situation.

“The initial cross-border attack appears to have been primarily infantry and may not have been Russia’s main operation,” said Michael Coffman, senior fellow at the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. He added that the attack was “more It could be a repair job that strains Ukraine’s defenses, which are already short on manpower.”

Russian officials have yet to comment on the intrusion.

It is unclear whether Russia has captured any territory. A senior Ukrainian commander said Kiev troops had blocked a Russian incursion in the direction of a village called Lyptsi, less than a mile from the border with the Kharkiv region. The area is now considered a gray zone, meaning the fighting is too intense and the situation too unstable to determine who controls the land.

The Kharkiv regional government urged people in villages near the border to evacuate. Some cities, such as Wolfchansk, were heavily shelled during the war and were virtually deserted for months.

A doctor at the Wovchansk hospital, about four miles from the Russian border, said heavy fighting was taking place around the town. “We are currently evacuating people from the hospital,” he said, requesting anonymity. Used because he feared for his safety. “They hit really hard and destroyed everything.”

He said Ukrainian soldiers appeared to be preventing troops from entering the town, but the Russians were attacking with all weapons, including tanks, armored fighting vehicles and warplanes. He said the hospital was being evacuated. Many small villages along the border have been evacuated for months as shelling intensifies, and Ukrainian officials said on Friday those efforts were continuing.

President Vladimir V. Putin has made clear he wants his troops to push Ukrainians away from the border and create what he calls “sanitary zones” that would both protect Russian towns on the other side of the border from shelling and allow him to maintain These areas serve as staging areas for Russian operations in occupied eastern Ukraine.

Russian forces failed to capture Kharkov in the first weeks of the war and were almost completely driven out of the Kharkov region during a Ukrainian counteroffensive in autumn 2022. Hundreds of thousands of people who fled the city returned home, start rebuilding their lives.

But Russia has stepped up its bombardment of the city in recent months, targeting it almost daily with missiles, drones and powerful guided bombs, targeting energy infrastructure and companies that play a key role in weapons production. industrial and residential areas. .

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