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Russia takes five villages in Kharkiv, Kremlin claims

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Published Time: 11.05.2024 - 13:40:15 Modified Time: 11.05.2024 - 13:40:15

Ukrinform/Shutterstock Chosen by us to get you up to speed at a glanceVladimir Putin’s forces have taken five border villages in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, where Russia launched an offensive on Friday, its defence ministry has claimed

: Ukrinform/Shutterstock

Chosen by us to get you up to speed at a glance

Vladimir Putin’s forces have taken five border villages in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, where Russia launched an offensive on Friday, its defence ministry has claimed.

In a briefing, the defence ministry said that Russian forces had taken the villages of Pletenivka, Ohirtseve, Borysivka, Pylna and Strilechna, all of which are directly on the border with Russia’s Belgorod region.

The briefing also said that Russian troops had taken the village of Keramik in the eastern Donetsk region, where Moscow has made slow but steady advances in recent months.

It comes after Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said a “fierce battle” was under way, and evacuated almost 2,000 people.

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A “fierce battle” is underway in Kharkiv, with nearly two thousand people forced to evacuate from villages near Russia after Moscow launched a surprise cross-border ground offensive.

Russian forces has made advances in the area it was pushed back from nearly two years ago – the latest in a series of gains as Ukrainian forces find themselves outgunned and outmanned.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said a “fierce battle” was under way in Kharkiv, adding: “We must disrupt Russian offensive operations and return the initiative to Ukraine.”

“A total of 1,775 people have been evacuated,” Kharkiv governor Oleg Synegubov wrote on social media, adding that Russian artillery and mortar attacks had affected 30 settlements over the past 24 hours.

The Kharkiv region has been mostly under Ukrainian control since September 2022.

Russia’s defence ministry has said that its forces had taken five border villages in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, where Russia launched an offensive on Friday.

In its briefing on Saturday, the defence ministry said that Russian forces had taken the villages of Pletenivka, Ohirtseve, Borysivka, Pylna and Strilechna, all of which are directly on the border with Russia’s Belgorod region.

The briefing also said that Russian troops had taken the village of Keramik in the eastern Donetsk region, where Moscow has made slow but steady advances in recent months.

A Russian fighter aircraft accidentally released a FAB-500 munition on a civilian area in Belgorod, Russia, on May 4, according to the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

Thirty houses and 10 cars were damaged, with five individuals requiring hospital care.

“The Belgorod Regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov confirmed the explosion and damage on Razdobarkina street, Belgorod without identifying the cause,” the MoD said in a post on X. 

“This is not an isolated incident. On 18 February a FAB-250 was reportedly released on Soloti in the Belgorod area which led to the evacuation of 150 residents. Media outlets suggest that such discharges are fairly common with 20 lost munitions accidentally dropped in the Belgorod region alone between March to April 2024.”

Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 11 May 2024.Find out more about Defence Intelligence's use of language: https://t.co/fm0UBRirHg #StandWithUkraine ???????? pic.twitter/H9ld1CzQZ9

: Reuters/ Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy

: REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy

Residents of Ukrainian border towns were evacuated from their homes on Friday, and spoke to Reuters news agency about leaving.

“We are leaving because we are dying from the ‘Russian world,’” said Valerii Dubskyi, 60, referring to a Russian concept of extending Moscow’s influence beyond its borders.

“It can go to hell, together with (Russian president Vladimir) Putin and their authorities. They are our enemies. They tested all types of weapons on us, except for the nuclear bomb.”

Dubskyi said he had not eaten for 24 hours. Even fetching well water was impossible under an unending torrent of shelling.

“During the bombardments, you either rush to the basement or out of the basement,” he said. “There and back.”

Groups of evacuees sat on benches clutching handfuls of possessions, tightly packed bags alongside them on the ground.

Halyna Ukrainyk, clutching a cat while waiting for her bus, said the shelling started the previous day at about 3 am She and others were confined to a cellar.

“A street is totally destroyed. Shelling,” she said. “It’s horrible what is going on there. It’s impossible to stay there.”

The commander of Ukraine’s ground forces has said he expects the 26-month-old war against Russia to enter a critical phase in the next two months as Moscow tries to exploit delays in supplying weapons to Kyiv.

“Russia knows that if we receive enough weapons within a month or two, the situation could turn against them,” General Oleskander Pavliuk told The Economist magazine.

Supplies of US weapons slowed for months while an aid package proposed by president Joe Biden was held up by wrangling in Congress. The measure was passed late last month.

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