Russia attacks Ukraine’s northeast in new ground offensive

Amidst a surprise Russian ground offensive in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine has pledged to quash the assault, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declaring a “fierce battle” for control of the area.
Russian forces, making small advances in the border zone from which they were pushed back nearly two years ago, have intensified their efforts, aiming to gain fresh territory with Ukraine on the defensive.
Zelenskyy, addressing the press in Kyiv, saying, “Russia launched a new wave of counter-offensive actions in this area. Ukraine met them there with our troops, brigades, and artillery … Now there is a fierce battle underway.”
Civilians have been urged to evacuate, and heavy fighting has been reported as Ukraine’s military rushes reinforcements to defend the region, which has largely been under Ukrainian control since September 2022.
In response to the offensive, the United States announced a new $400 million military aid package for Ukraine, expressing confidence in Ukraine’s ability to repel further Russian aggression.
While Russia has not commented on the assault, military sources indicate their advancement into Ukrainian territory, attempting to establish a buffer zone in the Kharkiv and neighboring Sumy regions.
The Ukrainian military has deployed additional troops, utilizing artillery and drones to thwart the Russian advance. President Zelensky has assured a forceful response, saying, “We will invariably destroy the occupier in such a way as to thwart any Russian offensive intentions.”
The attack, launched early Friday, saw Russian forces breaking through Ukrainian lines under the cover of armored vehicles. Local officials have reported “massive shelling” in towns near the Russian border, prompting evacuations.
Russian shelling has resulted in casualties, with reports of deaths in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions. Despite claims of capturing villages in the region, Ukraine remains resolute in defending its territory.
The escalation comes amidst tensions along the Ukrainian-Russian border, with both sides accusing each other of aggression. The situation remains fluid as Ukraine braces for further incursions while bolstering its defenses with international support.
(With inputs from agencies)


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