Russia’s massive assault at Kharkiv frontline raises war escalation fear

NEW DELHI: In an attempt to push through Kyiv‘s defensive lines, Russian forces launched a massive assault in Ukraine‘s northeastern Kharkiv, even as the Ukrainian defence ministry agreed that “battles of varying intensity continue”.
The Moscow troops used artillery, bombs and armoured vehicles to break into Kharkiv, while Kyiv claimed it managed to repel attacks.
Russian army over the past day have used guided aerial bombs to carry out strikes around Vovchansk, a small city near the border with Russia, the Ukrainian defense ministry said. Vovchansk is a few miles northwest of the front lines.
Russia on Thursday night intensively used artillery to strike Ukraine’s first defensive lines, the defense ministry said.
Early this morning, Moscow tried using armoured vehicles to break through the lines.
“Ukraine met them there with our troops, brigades and artillery. It is important that they can increase their forces and bring more troops in this direction. This is a fact,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, confirming the assault during a Friday press conference with his Slovakian counterpart in Kyiv.
“But our army and our military command were aware of this and calculated their capabilities to meet the enemy with fire. Now a fierce battle is underway,” Zelenskyy added.
The Russian attack has triggered concerns that the conflict, previously limited to eastern and southern Ukraine, could now spread to a different area in the north, potentially testing Ukraine’s defense vulnerabilities. Furthermore, this development comes after alerts from authorities and analysts about Moscow’s military buildup in the region.
The Russian aerial attacks and shelling over a few days could locate and hammer Ukrainian positions.
“In a worst case scenario, it creates favorable conditions for armored vehicle commitment,” Dara Massicot, an expert on the Russian military at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote on X.
Instead, Russia’s ongoing operation likely has other objectives, the analysts said. These include pinning down Ukrainian forces in the northeast to create opportunities for Moscow to advance in other sectors of the front line, as well as create a buffer zone in the area. This could allow Russia to defend against cross-border raids, reported the Business Insider.
Andrii Kovalenko, who is the head of the counter-disinformation department in Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, mentioned that the Russian assault looks like a simulated large-scale attack where limited forces are conducting combat reconnaissance.


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