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City on brink: Vovchansk residents flee amid devastating shelling

Ukrainian officer reports widespread destruction and ongoing evacuation as Russian attacks escalate.
Russian attack Kharkiv o blast
Consequences of the Russian attack on Vovchansk, Kharkiv Oblast, on 20 April, 2024. Credit: Kharkiv Prosecutor’s Office
City on brink: Vovchansk residents flee amid devastating shelling

Ukrainian police officer Oleksii Kharkivskyi said the situation in Vovchansk in Kharkiv Oblast has severely worsened as Russian shelling destroyed nearly the entire city. Evacuation is underway to save civilians from continuous attacks.

On 10 May, Russian occupiers attempted to storm the Vovchansk front at 5 am, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense. Reserve units have been deployed to Kharkiv Oblast, where “battles of various intensity are ongoing,” said the ministry.

“Today, May 12, 2024, the situation in the city has deteriorated significantly. The city is almost entirely destroyed. Only a few people remain in the city. We are in the process of evacuating those who left,” said Kharkivskyi on his Facebook page.

Oleh Syniehubov, the head of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration, has reported that over the past two days, intensified Russian attacks in the frontline areas have led to the evacuation of 4073 individuals.

Military observer Denis Popovich suggested that while the Russians may lack the strength to directly attack Kharkiv, they could target Vovchansk. On 12 May, DeepState, a monitoring resource, reported that Russian forces occupied six villages in the northern part of the region.

Oleksandr Syrskyi, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said that the situation on the front line remains tense.

“Russia is actively attacking Ukrainian units on several fronts in an attempt to advance deeper into the country’s territory. Ukrainian Defense Forces units are engaged in fierce battles, thwarting attempts by Russian occupiers to breach defense lines,” said Syrskyi.

In response to the offensive, the White House approved a new $400 million military aid package for Ukraine. US National Security Spokesperson John Kirby said there is a possibility that Russians are setting themselves up for a larger assault on Kharkiv.

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