War in Ukraine, day 810 | Villages still under Russian fire, nearly 6,000 people evacuated

(Rouski Tychky) Around thirty villages in northeastern Ukraine came under fire on Monday from the Russian army, which continued its new offensive in the Kharkiv region, where it seized tens of square kilometers in A few days.


Posted at 6:27 a.m.

Updated at 11:38 a.m.

Barbara WOJAZER

France Media Agency

“More than 30 localities in the Kharkiv region were hit by enemy artillery and mortar fire,” regional governor Oleg Synegoubov said midday on social media.

It specifies that a total of 5,762 of their inhabitants have been evacuated from these areas since the start of the fighting. The departure of around 1,600 other people was planned for this Monday, despite a “fairly complicated situation”, according to him.

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PHOTO ROMAN PILIPEY, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

People who fled the village of Tsyrkouny wait in a car at a checkpoint outside Kharkiv on May 13.

Russian forces crossed the border from Friday to carry out an offensive in the directions of Lyptsi and Vovchansk, two localities located respectively around twenty and around fifty kilometers northeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city.

“Currently, the enemy is experiencing tactical successes,” the general staff of the Ukrainian forces conceded early Monday. Moscow has mobilized “up to five battalions”, according to Kyiv.

According to the Telegram channel DeepState, close to the Ukrainian army, the Russians managed to occupy a strip of around 70 km2 in the Lyptsi region and another of 34 km2 towards Vovchansk.

At the same time, one person was killed and three others injured in a strike on a farm in a village west of Kharkiv, around thirty kilometers from the fighting zone, regional authorities announced.

In the village of Rouski Tychky, 7 km from Lyptsi, explosions regularly echoed in the distance, AFP noted.

“So much horror”

Kateryna Stepanova, 74, has just been evacuated from Lyptsi with her son. Several bombs exploded in his street.

“I ran away with what I was wearing, dirty clothes […]. Fortunately, at least we are alive,” she told AFP, sitting in a minibus at a first assembly point for evacuees.

“It’s so horrible what’s happening there. But what are these idiots doing? The houses are on fire,” adds the septuagenarian.

According to the Telegram channel Rybar, close to the Russian army, after four days of offensive, “no large-scale breakthrough of the enemy defenses has been recorded”.

“After clearing the “gray” border zone, Russian assault units focused on penetrating the strongholds and defensive lines of the Ukrainian armed forces,” the channel said on Monday.

On Sunday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke of “defensive battles and fierce fighting […] on a large part of our border.

“The idea behind the attacks in the Kharkiv region is to stretch our forces and undermine the morale” of the Ukrainian military, he said.

Kharviv not threatened

The large city of Kharkiv is not threatened for the moment, “despite all the events taking place in the region”, it “is calm, we do not see people leaving”, declared Sunday its mayor, Igor Terekhov .

(Re)read “Russian breakthroughs under the eye of experts”

Ukrainian authorities have been warning for weeks that Moscow could try to attack the border regions of northeastern Ukraine, a country currently facing delays in Western aid and lacking troops.

This Russian advance comes at a time when, in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin carried out a surprise reshuffle on Sunday evening and replaced his emblematic Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, after two years of conflict in Ukraine without a clear outcome.

The new minister, Andrei Beloussov, has training as an economist and – like Mr. Shoigu when he was appointed to this position in 2012 – no military background.

Inside Russia and in occupied areas of Ukraine, the Ukrainians have increased strikes, particularly on energy infrastructure.

At least four people were killed and seven injured on Monday in bombings blamed on Ukraine in the occupied region of Luhansk (east) and in the Russian region of Kursk, Russian authorities announced.

Ukraine also claimed Monday to have struck an oil terminal and an electricity substation respectively in the Belgorod and Lipetsk regions, in western Russia, not far from the Ukrainian border.

The Russian side gave no indication of the attack on the oil terminal, but the governor of Lipetsk confirmed a fire at the electrical substation, without revealing the cause of the latter, nor accusing the Ukraine.

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