Volunteers help residents evacuate in the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine, May 10, 2024 (Sergey Bobok/AFP)

Saturday’s Coverage: Russia’s Armored Assault on Kharkiv Region

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Ukraine’s commander-in-chief Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi has updated on the “difficult” situation amid a Russian assault in the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine.

Syrskyi posted on Telegram:

[We] are fighting fierce defensive battles. The attempts of the Russian invaders to break through our defences have been stopped.

The situation is difficult, but the defence forces of Ukraine are doing everything to hold defensive lines and positions, and inflict damage on the enemy.

Volodymyr Tymoshko, the head of the Kharkiv regional police, said Russian forces are on the outskirts of the town of Vovchansk — about 10 km (6.2 miles) from the Russian border — and approaching from three directions.

Tymoshko said Russia is combining aerial assaults with attacks by infantry units, similar the tactics used in the devastation and overrunning of Bakhmut and Avdiivka in the neighboring Donetsk region.

Governor Oleh Syniehubov said Vovchansk is under “permanent” Russian fire. Around 4,000 people have been evacuated over the past two days but about 500 people remained in the town, which had a pre-invasion population of 17,000.


The Ukraine military says the 110th Separate Mechanized Brigade shot down a Russian SU-25 warplane near Avdiivka in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.

The Su-25 provides close air support to Russian ground forces, who seized Avdiivka in mid-February after an intense assault of more than four months.


A Ukrainian drone attack has set another Russian oil refinery on fire.

The UAV struck the Lukoil refinery in the Volgograd region on Sunday. Video, from a Telegram channel associated with the Russian military, showed an industrial building in flames.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has acknowledged that “the situation remains very difficult” as Russia attacked the Kharkiv region in the northeast for a second day.

In his nightly video address to the nation, Zelenskiy said “defensive operations” were ongoing in villages near the border, after Russian forces crossed on Friday.

He also spoke of the “particularly tense” position, with “more than 30 battles” daily, in the neighboring Donetsk region. A Russian offensive has been trying since last autumn to seize territory, with gradual advance this year.

Military spokesman Nazar Voloshyn said Russian troops were being held up in the border settlements: “The enemy is contained in the gray zone, and it is not expanding.”

A Russian armored column attacked early Friday morning near Vovchansk — about 10 km (6.2 miles) from the Kharkiv-Russia border — and fighting was reported in villages to the west. A “high-ranking Ukrainian military source” said the invaders advanced one km (0.62 mile) and were hoping to establish a buffer zone 10 km (6.2 miles) deep.

Governor Oleh Syniehubov said 1,775 civilians in the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine were evacuated from their homes in 24 hours. The largest operation was in the Chuhuiv district, southeast of Kharkiv, where 1,048 people were moved.