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Russia pounds over 30 Kharkiv towns, villages

UKRAINE – Russia pounded more than 30 villages and towns in Kharkiv after launching a ground offensive in the northeastern Ukrainian region, forcing almost 6,000 people to evacuate, its governor said on Monday.

Ukraine's General Staff acknowledged on Monday that Russia was currently «achieving tactical success» after driving a wedge into Kyiv's defenses.

Russia's Defense Ministry said on Monday that troops had «improved the tactical position and dealt a blow to (Ukrainian) manpower» around border villages that included Lyptsi, as well as the town of Vovchansk.

WEARY OF WAR A female evacuee arrives by bus at an evacuation point in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region on May 12, 2024. AFP PHOTO

«They are shelling the villages, firing on everything they can,» Sergiy Kryvetchenko, deputy head of the military administration in Lyptsi, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Russia began its offensive across its border into Kharkiv last Friday and later claimed to have taken several villages in the region near the border.

The situation in Kharkiv is «complex and dynamically changing,» with Russian troops mounting assaults in various areas, Ukraine's General Staff said.


Kharkiv Gov. Oleg Synegubov wrote on social media that over the last day, «more than 30» towns and villages «were struck by enemy artillery and mortar attacks,» wounding at least nine people.

Some areas were also bombed by Russian aircraft, he added.

A total of 5,762 people have been evacuated from their homes since the start of the offensive, the governor said.

Over the course of Sunday, Russia «carried out 22 assaults» in five border areas, 14 of which were still ongoing, the General Staff said.


It also said fighting was ongoing for the border town of Vovchansk, where Russia was deploying «significant forces.»

Vovchansk, which previously had a population of 2,500 but now has only 200 to 300 residents, suffered «massive shelling» on Sunday that hit houses and wounded seven, said Synegubov.

'Expanding' front line

The governor said on national television that «the gray zone and the front line are expanding» because Russia is «trying to deliberately stretch it, attacking in small groups in