Ukraine: more than 4,000 people evacuated in the Kharkiv region in the face of the Russian offensive | TV5MONDE

Ukraine: more than 4,000 people evacuated in the Kharkiv region in the face of the Russian offensive | TV5MONDE
Ukraine: more than 4,000 people evacuated in the Kharkiv region in the face of the Russian offensive | TV5MONDE

More than 4,000 people have been evacuated from border areas in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, the local governor said on Sunday, following a surprise Russian cross-border offensive that began on Friday.

“A total of 4,073 people were evacuated,” Governor Oleg Synegubov wrote on social media, a day after Russian forces claimed the capture of five villages in the region.

Mr. Synegubov said that on Sunday a 63-year-old man was killed by artillery fire in the village of Glyboke and that a 38-year-old man was wounded in Vovchansk, a border town which had some 3,000 inhabitants before the current offensive.

On Friday, Ukraine said Russia had launched an attack in the Kharkiv region, making small advances in a border area from which it had been pushed back almost two years ago.

President Volodymyr Zelensky assured, in a speech on Saturday evening, that Ukrainian counterattacks were underway. “Disrupting Russian offensive plans is now our number one task,” he said.

He added that it was necessary to “return the initiative to Ukraine” and urged kyiv’s allies to speed up arms deliveries.

Authorities in kyiv have warned for weeks that Moscow could try to attack northeastern border regions, as Ukraine faces delays in Western aid and a shortage of soldiers.

“Buffer”

On Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry said its troops had “liberated” five Ukrainian villages in the Kharkiv region, the country’s second city, as well as another in the Donetsk region, further south.

According to a high-ranking Ukrainian military Source, Russian forces are trying to “create a buffer zone” in the Kharkiv region and neighboring Sumy in order to prevent attacks on Russian territory.

Ukrainian forces, for their part, have increased strikes inside Russia and in areas of Ukraine occupied by the Russians, in particular against energy infrastructure.

The latest known attack to date, a Ukrainian drone caused a fire on the site of the Volgograd refinery (southern Russia) during the night from Saturday to Sunday, lamented the governor of the eponymous region, Andreï Botcharov.

According to him, a drone attack was repelled but the fall of one of these devices “caused a fire on the refinery site”, which “did not cause any casualties” and “was extinguished”.

The Russian Defense Ministry, for its part, claimed in its morning report to have intercepted a total of eight Ukrainian drones during the night, including one “over the territory of the Volgograd region”.

The Russian army, however, did not provide further details on this device and the consequences caused by its fall.

Owned by the giant Lukoil, the refinery claims on its website to be “the largest producer of petroleum products in the Southern Federal District”, which brings together eight regions in southwest Russia.

The site had already been the target of a Ukrainian drone attack in early February, without causing any casualties there either.

kyiv says it is acting in response to strikes by the Russian army against civilian sites, starting with its energy infrastructure.

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