Russia Launches Massive Ground Attack, Zelensky: Fighting in Kharkiv is Difficult But Controlled


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said fighting around the city of Kharkiv, where Russia gained its largest territory in Ukraine in the past 18 months, was described as very difficult but under control.

Zelensky made the comments while speaking with military leaders in the northeastern city on Thursday (16/5/2024), just 18 miles (30 km) from the Russian border.

Moscow launched a major ground offensive across the border into the Kharkiv region last week. This surprising move further adds to Ukraine’s outnumbered and outnumbered troops.

Via Telegram, Zelensky said the Ukrainian army inflicted heavy losses on the invaders.

“However, this area is still very difficult. We are strengthening our units,” he explained, quoted by the BBC.

Kharkiv Governor Oleg Synegubov said Ukraine was trying to stabilize the front line in the region and was successful in halting some of Russia’s advance.

According to an analysis by the AFP news agency, Moscow seized 278 square km (107 square miles) of Ukrainian territory between May 9 and 15, a figure based on data from the Institute for the Study of War.

This is the largest territorial gain Russia has made in a single operation since mid-December 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday (15/5/2024) that his troops were advancing on all fronts.


Some military analysts say Moscow may try to force Ukraine to divert its troops from other vulnerable points.

On Thursday (16/5/2024), a top North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) commander said Russia did not have enough troops on the ground to make a major breakthrough in Ukraine.

“I have been in very close contact with our colleagues in Ukraine and I am confident they will hold the line,” US General Christopher Cavoli told reporters, quoted by AFP.

The escalation of Russian attacks on multiple fronts has underscored the acute ammunition and manpower shortages affecting Ukraine’s military.

This progress comes ahead of President Putin’s rare international visit to China, namely meeting with President Xi Jinping.

During the visit, the two leaders called for a political solution to what they called the “Ukraine crisis.”

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