Rescuers fight a fire after an overnight missile strike on private buildings in Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 10, 2024 (Sergey Kozlov/EFE-EPA)

Friday’s Coverage: Kyiv Hits Oil Refinery 1,500 Km Inside Russia

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Amid Russian attacks, 1,775 civilians in the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine have been evacuated from their homes in 24 hours, reported Governor Oleh Syniehubov.

The largest operation was in the Chuhuiv district, southeast of Kharkiv, where 1,048 people were moved.


In his nightly video address to the nation, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke about Russia’s armored assault on the Kharkiv region.

He assured, “We are strengthening Kharkiv directions. Along the state border and on the frontlines, we will continue to destroy the occupiers and thwart Russia’s offensive intentions.”

Then he spoke to the international community:

It is critical that partners support our warriors and Ukrainian resilience with timely deliveries. Truly timely ones. A package that truly helps is the actual delivery of weapons to Ukraine, rather than just the announcement of a package.


One civilian has been killed and two injured by Russian attacks on the Sumy region in northern Ukraine.

Artillery shelling of the settlement of Esman killed a 64-year-old woman and injured her 17-year-old granddaughter. A resident of the village of Seredyna-Buda was wounded.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Russia launched a cross-border assault into the Kharkiv region, liberated by Ukrainian forces in autumn 2022, in northeast Ukraine on Friday.

A Russian armored column attacked near Vovchansk on the Ukrainian-Russian border, and there were reports of fighting in the border villages of Strilecha, Pylna and Borysivka 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.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Friday afternoon:

At approximately 5 a.m., there was an attempt by the enemy to break through our defensive line under the cover of armoured vehicles.

As of now, these attacks have been repulsed; battles of varying intensity continue.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy added at a press conference, “Ukraine met them there with troops: brigades and artillery.” He cautioned that Russia may throw more forces into the assault.

At least two civilians were killed and five more injured during heavy Russian shelling. Residents were evacuated from Vovchansk, 10 km (6.2 miles) from the border, and nearby areas.

Governor Oleh Syniehubov said:

All the enemy can do is to attack in certain small groups, you can call them sabotage and reconnaissance groups or something else, and test the positions of our military.

Later in the day, military spokesperson Nazar Voloshyn said that Russia’s attack is part of a psychological operation trying to pull Ukrainian troops away from the frontline in the neighboring Donetsk region.

The Russian military blogger Rybar described a “reconnaissance in force” attack rather than a full-scale assault. He said the battle zone was at “a depth of 2 to 3 km” in some border areas, with attacks aimed at Ukrainian artillery points to weaken defenses.

Will US Aid Arrive in Time?

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, “It is certainly possible that the Russians are setting themselves up for a larger assault on Kharkiv.” He expressed concerned at signs that Russia is preparing bring long-range fire capabilities within range of Kharkiv: “You’re not going to do that if you’re not also thinking about some other larger assault directly on the city.”

It is possible that Russia will make further advances in the coming weeks, but we do not anticipate any major breakthroughs.

And over time, the influx of U.S. assistance will enable Ukraine to withstand these attacks over the course of 2024.

Kirby announced a new $400 million package from the $60.8 billion in military aid finally approved two weeks ago, overcoming a 6 1/2-month blockade by Trumpists and hard-right Republicans. The assistance will include rockets, surface-to-air missiles, and armored vehicles.

Meanwhile, as Vovchansk was being evacuated, resident Valerii Dubskyi, 60, said:

We are leaving because we are dying from the “Russian world”. It can go to hell, together with Putin and their authorities. They are our enemies. They tested all types of weapons on us, except for the nuclear bomb.”

“Critical Phase of Invasion in Next 2 Months”

The commander of Ukraine’s Ground Forces, Lt. Gen. Oleksandr Pavliuk, told The Economist that the critical phase of Russia’s invasion will be over the next two months.

Pavliuk noted that with US assistance expected but only beginning to reach frontlines, Russian generals “are throwing in all the combat-ready materiel they have to test Ukraine’s exhausted and undersupplied troops….Russia knows that if we receive enough weapons within a month or two, the situation could turn against them.

He referred to the likely Russian assault on Kharkiv as well as its offensive in the neighboring Donetsk region: “Russia is testing the stability of our lines before choosing the most suitable direction.”

He cited the urgent need for artillery and armored vehicles. With Russia’s missile and drone strikes trying to break energy infrastructure and civilian morale, air defense is also required, Pavliuk said. The arrival of US-made F-16 fighter jets, possibly as soon as early June, would be a boost.

But the general warned that Russia has not abandoned its ambition to capture Kyiv: “[It[ remains one of our main concerns, no matter how tough it is in the east.”