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Intensified Russian shelling in northern Kharkiv Oblast results in civilian casualties as people flee the region

“Fierce battles are ongoing in Strelecha, Pylna, Borysivka, in the areas of Oliynykove and Ohirtseve. These battles are happening in areas that have been effectively in a ‘gray zone’,” Oblast Head says.
Shelling in Ukraine’s Vovchansk, Kharkiv Oblast, May 2024. Photo by Sky News
Intensified Russian shelling in northern Kharkiv Oblast results in civilian casualties as people flee the region

The Russian military has intensified its artillery attacks on the northern regions of Kharkiv, resulting in the deaths of civilians and several injuries, local officials reported on Saturday.

In the Vovchansk community, where Russian forces began offensive operations on Friday, two civilian men were killed and two more were injured due to heavy shelling. Oleh Syniehubov, head of the Kharkiv Oblast Military Administration, provided details via a Telegram post: “Vovchansk community is under intense enemy shelling. More than 20 guided aerial bombs have been dropped on the town and surrounding areas. The enemy is also using multiple rocket launch systems, artillery, and drones.”

At 11:30 AM in Vovchansk, a private residence was hit, fortunately without causing any injuries. Later, at 3:45 PM in the Vovchansk Hutory area, a house caught fire due to Russian shelling, and a 64-year-old man was injured in another part of Vovchansk. “Additionally, due to shelling with guided aerial bombs on residential areas, a civilian was injured, and two civilian men, aged 50 and 48, were killed,” Syniehubov added.

Evacuation from Kharkiv Oblast is underway, with 2,500 people evacuated recently. “Fierce battles are ongoing in Strelecha, Pylna, Borysivka, in the areas of Oliynykove and Ohirtseve. These battles are happening in areas that have been effectively in a ‘gray zone.’ The enemy attempted to advance in other directions within the region, but all such attempts have been repelled by our defense forces. There is no threat of a ground operation against Kharkiv. Our defense forces are doing everything possible to hold their positions,” Syniehubov stated.

This escalation follows the activation of Russian troops in Kharkiv on May 10, with President Volodymyr Zelensky confirming during a briefing with the President of Slovakia, Zuzana Čaputová, that Russian forces had initiated a new wave of offensive actions in the Kharkiv direction. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has dispatched reserve units to northern Kharkiv in anticipation of increased enemy fire.

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