War in Ukraine, day 812 | Putin satisfied with the progress of his troops

(Kyiv) Vladimir Putin welcomed on Wednesday the advances in Ukraine by the Russian army which claimed the capture of several localities in the Kharkiv region (north-east) where it has been carrying out an offensive for a week.


Posted at 6:24 a.m.

Updated at 12:34 p.m.

Emmanuel PEUCHOT

France Media Agency

This attack across the border, from the north, took Ukrainian forces by surprise, weakened by a lack of weapons and men after more than two years of war and months of delay in Western aid.

During a meeting broadcast on Russian television with high-ranking officers and the new Minister of Defense, Andrei Beloussov, the Russian president expressed his satisfaction.

“Since the beginning of the year, our troops have been constantly improving their positions in all directions every day. They meet all the objectives set by the Ministry of Defense,” he said.

“The speed with which we react to the demands of the moment gives us confidence that we will fulfill all the goals,” added the Kremlin leader.

The Russian Ministry of Defense announced the conquest of the localities of Glyboké and Lukiantsi in the Kharkiv region, a few hours after the Ukrainians admitted having ceded ground in this border area, the target of a Russian offensive since May 10.

While his army had said in the morning that it had had to withdraw from areas around the towns of Lukiantsi and Vovchansk, President Volodymyr Zelensky affirmed Wednesday evening, in his daily message, that the Ukrainian soldiers had “managed to partially stabilize the situation.” situation “.

In the south, the Russian military claimed to have recaptured the destroyed village of Robotyné, a symbolic locality, because it was one of the rare Ukrainian conquests during the summer 2023 offensive.

The Russian offensive in the Kharkiv region must be a “wake-up call” for Ukraine’s allies, British Defense Minister Grant Shapps said on Wednesday, regretting that the West had been “distracted” by other conflicts.

“I really hope that this is the wake-up call that we have tried to send, and which will now be heard, that this is not a war that you can afford to be fully attentive, then turn away or get distracted by another conflict, and then expect nothing to change on the ground,” Grant Shapps told Sky News.

“We must support [les Ukrainiens] all the time, and not just periodically,” he insisted, without however mentioning by name the conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, which has monopolized Western and regional diplomacy since October 7.

Two billion dollars for defense

Visiting Kyiv at the same time, the head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken reported the release of two of the approximately 60 billion dollars in aid intended to strengthen Ukrainian defense capabilities and which was recently approved in the United States after months of obstruction by Republicans.

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PHOTO SERGEI SUPINSKY, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kouleba

He further ruled that it was up to the Ukrainians to decide whether to strike Russian territory, while Russia warned the West against attacking its territory using weapons of its own making.

At least two people were also killed on Wednesday following a Russian missile attack on Dnipro, a large city in east-central Ukraine, lamented the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region.

Another died in the northern region of Sumy. And 18 people were injured in an aerial bombardment in Kherson and five others in Mykolaiv, two southern cities.

Fallback

In the northeast, the Russian army has quickly seized several villages in recent days, after a long bombing campaign.

“Around 8,000 people”, mostly “women, elderly people, people with reduced mobility, disabled people and children”, according to emergency services, were evacuated from the localities affected by the fighting which took place at around thirty kilometers from Kharkiv, the eponymous capital of the region and the second largest city in Ukraine.

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PHOTO VALENTYN OGIRENKO, REUTERS

“Approximately 8,000 people”, mostly “women, elderly people, people with reduced mobility, disabled people and children”, were evacuated from localities affected by the fighting.

The Ukrainian army said on Wednesday that it had withdrawn in “certain places in the Lukiantsi and Vovchansk areas, due to enemy fire and assault actions”.

“Maneuvers were carried out to save the lives of our soldiers, the units were moved to more advantageous positions,” explained the spokesperson for Ukrainian troops in the region, Nazar Voloshin.

To counter Russian attacks, “additional forces are being deployed,” assured Serguiï Nykyforov, the presidential spokesperson.

In this context, the president has canceled all his trips abroad “for the next few days,” he added.

“The enemy is in the streets”

According to the Telegram channel DeepState, close to the Ukrainian military, the Russians managed to occupy a strip of around 80 km2 around Loukiantsi and another of 53 km2 towards Vovchansk.

In the latter city, which had 18,000 inhabitants before the war, “the situation is extremely difficult” and “the enemy is taking positions in the streets”, recognized Oleksiï Kharkivsky, the local police chief.

Some military analysts believe that Moscow could force Ukraine to divert its troops from other areas, particularly from the east, such as around the strategic city of Chassiv Yar, in the Donetsk region, where the Russians are also advancing.

The head of American diplomacy, for his part, assured Tuesday that American military aid was “on the way”, promising that it “will make a real difference on the battlefield”.

The slowness of European aid and the almost total cessation for months of that of the United States, put Ukraine in great difficulty at the very moment when Russia, with a war economy, resumed at the end of 2023 the initiative on the ground.

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