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Russia, Ukraine – the situation on the front. When the critical phase of the war may occur

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The Ministry of Defense in Moscow claims that Russian soldiers have occupied nine villages in the Kharkiv Oblast. The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army, Oleksandr Syrski, did not confirm these reports, but admitted that the situation in the region “has become significantly more severe.” He told the president that heavy fighting was ongoing on “the entire front line.” There were also forecasts of when the “critical phase of the war” might occur. We summarize the past week in Ukraine.

In Sunday's report from the Russian Ministry of Defense, it was reported that units of the North group had broken the defense of the Ukrainian armed forces in the Kharkiv region, capturing four more villages in one day. A day earlier, the Ministry of Defense in Moscow announced the “liberation of five villages.”

The Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Oleksanr Syrski, admitted on Sunday that the situation in the Kharkiv Oblast “has significantly intensified.” However, he did not comment on the latest reports from the Ministry of Defense in Moscow. Syrski said that fierce fighting in the Kharkiv Oblast continues along the border with Russia. He said that “Ukrainian intelligence knows the enemy's plans and reacts to them.”

Earlier, the head of the Kharkiv Oblast authorities, Oleh Synehubov, explained to journalists that the areas where combat operations are taking place are a 3-5 kilometer “gray zone” (territory where Ukrainian forces maintain defense). He said that Russian forces have intensified their attacks and are trying to penetrate deeper into the territory, but they are unable to expand the area.

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Kharkov under air fire. Report by Oleh Bilecki TVN24

READ: Russian offensive in the Kharkov region. “A new war front is opening”

Evacuation of residents

In the Kharkiv region, 4,073 people were evacuated within two days due to the intensification of Russian attacks, Oleh Synehubov reported.

People are being deported from the towns most at risk. One such place is the city of Volczańsk, which has a population of 18,000. According to Kiev military expert Denys Popovych, Volchansk may be the first target of Russian troops, which will not have enough forces to storm Kharkov, which has a population of nearly one and a half million people.

Evacuation of civilians from towns near the city of VolchanskPAP/Mykola Kalyeniak

Evacuation of civilians from towns near Wołczańsk PAP/Mykola Kalyeniak

On the entire front line

The Russian offensive in the Kharkiv Oblast is the most important event on the Ukrainian front this week. This does not mean, however, that it is “calmer” on other sections. On Saturday, Oleksandr Syrski told President Volodymyr Zelensky that heavy fighting was ongoing on “the entire front line.”

“Heavy fighting is taking place along the entire front line. We must pay particular attention to the directions of Kharkiv, Pokrovsk and Donetsk,” Zelensky said after a conversation with the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president also announced that due to the Russian offensive in the Kharkiv Oblast, additional Ukrainian forces will be transferred to this sector.

Reports on the situation on the front of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces show that in recent days, Ukrainian troops have been repelling dozens of enemy attacks a day. Most of them – in the Bakhmuk and Avdiyiv directions in the Donetsk region.

Russia is planning the next stage of its offensive in Ukraine.  President Zelensky appealed to allies

Russia is planning the next stage of its offensive in Ukraine. President Zelensky appealed to alliesAnna Czerwińska/Fakty TVN

Critical phase of the war

The critical phase of the war may occur within the next two months. US aid to Ukraine is only just starting to reach the front line, while Russia is throwing all its combat-ready equipment onto the battlefield, Oleksandr Pavlyuk, commander of Ukrainian ground forces, said in an interview with the British “The Economist”.

Pavluk announced that the enemy is using all its combat equipment on the front against exhausted and still insufficiently equipped Ukrainian troops. “Russia knows that if we get enough weapons within a month or two, the situation could turn against them,” Pavluk added, explaining the escalation of Russian attacks.

Russia's armed invasion of Ukraine broke out on February 24, 2022

They were supposed to drop Kindzhal missiles. Intelligence publishes the list

Ukrainian military intelligence has published data on 36 Russians who were responsible – as it stated – for dropping Kindzhal hypersonic missiles on Ukrainian cities. The intelligence website contains the names, dates of birth, ranks, places of service and even ID card numbers of people serving in the 44th Long-Range Aviation Regiment of the Russian Air Force.

“These are war criminals,” an intelligence statement said.

The regiment's deployment location is the Savaslejka airport near the city of Nizhny Novgorod in Russia. The formation consists of two squadrons with up to 24 MiG-31K long-range interceptors.

MiG-31K fighter with a suspended Kindżal missile. Illustrative photo Shutterstock

A worthy ambassador

Valery Załuzhny, a former commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army, who was very popular, was appointed ambassador to Great Britain – a decree on this matter was signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Under Ukrainian law, a soldier cannot become a diplomat, which is why Zaluzhny was released from military service due to his “health condition.” However, he can wear a general's uniform.

Załużny, 50, has no diplomatic experience. He devoted his life to his military career – recalled the BBC's Ukrainian section.

According to experts in Kiev, the reason for Zaluzhny's removal could be his popularity, Zelensky's fears that he would have political ambitions and a comment he made to the British weekly “The Economist” in November last year. Załużny then stated that “the war with Russia is entering a new stage – a positional war, including static and destructive combat, which may bring benefits to Moscow.”

Valery Załuzhny surrounded by military men.  Recorded from June 2023

Valery Załuzhny surrounded by military men facebook.com/CinCAFU

Russian losses

Over the last 24 hours, the Russian army lost 1,260 soldiers in Ukraine, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces announced on Sunday. Since the beginning of armed aggression, this number has reached 482,290.

According to the British Ministry of Defense, the total number of Russian victims since the beginning of the invasion in February 2022 has exceeded 465,000. The data includes dead and injured.

In its daily reports, the Ukrainian headquarters does not specify how many Russian soldiers on the front were killed and how many were wounded.

Main photo source: General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces/Facebook

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