Russia-Ukraine war: Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Ukrainian forces are now fighting to control territories in Khargiv region

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that the Ukrainian military had regained “combat control” over areas where Russian troops intruded this month in northern parts of the Kharkiv region.

“Our troops have now succeeded in taking control of the border area where the Russian occupiers entered,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address.

Zelenskyy’s comments, following a meeting of military and regional officials in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, appeared to differ from remarks made by Russian officials.

Viktor Vodolatsky, a member of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, told the TASS news agency that Russian forces had taken control of more than half of the town of Vovchansk, 5km (three miles) from the border.

Vodolatsky was quoted as saying that once Vovchansk was captured, Russian forces would target three cities in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region – Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Pokrovsk.

Reuters was unable to independently verify either side’s battlefield details.

Russian forces advanced into border areas of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region this month and the Russian Defence Ministry said they had taken control of about 12 settlements.

Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials were reporting success in “stabilizing” the region.

The Ukrainian army’s general staff said in its evening report on Friday that the situation in Vovchansk was “tense, but controlled by the defence forces”.

It said, “The Russian military carried out an air strike against this city today – eight guided bombs were dropped on the city.” At least two other settlements north of Kharkiv were also attacked.

A late-night report from the General Staff said Ukrainian forces had repelled 10 Russian attacks in the area, including Vovchansk.

It also noted that Russian forces had achieved “partial successes” in areas near Kupiansk, in the east of the Kharkiv region, and in the Pokrovsk sector, where heavy fighting is ongoing in the south of the Donetsk region.

Ukrainian military bloggers said Ukrainian forces were holding their ground around Vovchansk and that Russian forces were using less infantry in the area and firing from a distance with limited accuracy.

Published on:

May 25, 2024