Escalating Conflict in Kharkiv Oblast: Thousands Evacuated Amid Russian Attacks


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Ukrainian officials reported on May 12 that Russia continues its cross-border attacks on the Kharkiv Oblast border town of Vovchansk, resulting in the evacuation of thousands of civilians from the region.

Starting on May 10, Russian forces launched cross-border attacks in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast. Although Ukrainian forces had previously repelled Russian advances in the region about two years ago, the situation has changed, and Russia has gained some minor progress. On May 12, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that they had recaptured four villages in the region and penetrated Ukrainian defensive positions. On May 11, they further asserted that they had occupied five border villages in the “gray zone” near the Russian border, including Pletenivka, Ohirtseve, Borysivka, Pylna, and Strilechna.

The situation remains complex, with Ukrainian forces working to prevent further Russian advances. According to Oleg Synegubov, the governor of Kharkiv Oblast, nearly all border areas in the northern part of the region have been under constant attack from Russian forces, resulting in the evacuation of a total of 4,073 people, most of whom are elderly.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated in a late-night video release that most of the Kharkiv border area is engaged in defensive battles, and some villages have effectively become hostile zones. He also mentioned that fighting in certain areas near Donetsk remains intense.
The ongoing conflict continues to have devastating consequences for civilians caught in the crossfire.