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Ukraine warns of growing Russian threats to the north

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Senior Ukrainian military officials have warned that Russia is massing troops near northeastern Ukraine, raising concerns that a new offensive in the region could be imminent. Become a pressure point To the tense Ukrainian army.

General Oleksandr Sersky, Commander-in-Chief of UkraineMoscow said on Thursday it was redeploying its troops To Vovchansk and Lyptsi are two villages near the city of Kharkiv that Russian troops have been trying to capture for more than two weeks. Other officials also said Russia has massed its troops further north in Ukraine’s Sumy region in preparation for a ground offensive in the area.

“These forces are insufficient to launch a full-scale offensive and penetrate our defenses,” said General Silsky. Wrote on Facebook However, he said Ukraine was reorganizing its defenses in the region to prepare to repel an attack.

Russia’s cross-border incursion into Kharkiv poses a worrying threat to Ukrainian troops, which are already under constant attack Southeast of DonbassCommanders were forced to move their troops north to strengthen defenses while they waited for Western weapons to arrive in sufficient numbers to have an impact.

Russian troops are massing north of the border near the city of Sumy, about 90 miles northwest of Kharkiv, making the situation more dangerous and expanding the area of ​​territory Ukraine must defend. Analysts say an offensive in the Kharkiv or Sumy regions could overwhelm Ukrainian forces and allow Russia to break through.

Earlier this month, Russian troops opened a front in the northeastern Kharkiv region, breaking through thin Ukrainian defenses in the area and quickly capturing more than a dozen settlements. Ukraine eventually managed to stop the Russian advance, Slowly retreat to a more heavily defended position.

But Ukrainian commanders have also had to urgently call up reserves and redeploy elite troops to the northeast to fend off the Russian advance, weakening their positions elsewhere on the front, such as in the eastern Donetsk region, where Moscow’s troops are slowly advancing through bloody sieges of towns and villages.

Sergey Kuzan, chairman of the Ukrainian Center for Security and Cooperation, a civilian research institute, said, “Russia’s main goal is to expand the active front, disintegrate the Ukrainian Defense Forces and deprive the Ukrainian command of the ability to use its reserves.”

Kuzan also said that forcing Ukraine to move its troops north would improve Russia’s prospects of capturing the Donetsk region, which Moscow Officially annexed in 2022 But it does not have full control, which military analysts say is the Kremlin’s top priority.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov told Reuters Russia on Tuesday Gathering the troops prepare to launch a new offensive. “Their goal is to open a new front in the north and begin to use all their manpower and firepower against us,” he said.

Ukrainian officials have warned for days that Russia has massed about 10,000 troops across the border from the Sumy region, a force they say is not large enough to capture major towns but could pin Ukrainian forces in the area.

Ukraine’s border guard spokesman Andrei Demchenko said this week that Russia was conducting reconnaissance missions there to reveal the location of Ukrainian defenses.

“There are subversive groups’ intentions throughout the border region of the Sumy region,” Mr Demchenko said. Tell Ukrainian news mediaHe added that Russian forces might at some point “attempt to carry out actions similar to what we are seeing now in the Kharkiv region.”

Ukrainian officials have complained in recent months that they are unable to stop the buildup of Russian forces near the border because their allies have banned them from firing Western weapons at Russia. Their calls to lift the ban have had some success in recent days, with France, Poland, Sweden and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg saying Kiev should be allowed to use the weapons to strike Russian military targets.

Although the United States is the largest arms supplier to the Ukrainian government, it has not yet agreed to lift the ban A debate has begun within the Biden administration Relaxation of terms.

Currently, Ukraine can only try to resist the Russian attack on the front line. map of battlefield Data compiled by independent analysts based on satellite images and videos of the battle. In particular, they have reached Chasiv Yar, Ukraine This is one of Moscow’s main goals.

The capture of Chasiv Yar would allow Russian troops Control the high ground And it exposes cities that Ukraine uses as logistical hubs to more artillery fire.

General Serski said Thursday that Russia was supporting its ground assault with air strikes, using powerful guided bombs called glide bombs that can carry up to a ton of explosives and destroy concrete bunkers. He said Ukraine desperately needed anti-aircraft weapons to shoot down the planes launching the bombs.

Sweden Wednesday said China has provided Ukraine with more than $1 billion in military aid, its largest package to date, including anti-aircraft missiles and surveillance and control aircraft capable of tracking fighters and bombers.

Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonsson said Ukraine’s “capability to identify targets remotely will be strengthened.” Wrote on social media.

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