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Gen. Budanov: Russia may launch an offensive on Sumy Oblast

Ukraine’s military, grappling with troop shortages in Kharkiv Oblast’s north, is bracing for a possible Russian offensive targeting Sumy Oblast, according to Ukrainian military intelligence chief General Budanov.
Chief of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine. Photo: Dmytro Larin, Ukrainska Pravda.
Chief of the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine Kyrylo Budanov. Photo: Dmytro Larin, Ukrainska Pravda.
Gen. Budanov: Russia may launch an offensive on Sumy Oblast

In Ukraine’s northeast, the military faces a critical situation with troop shortages as it attempts to repel a Russian offensive in northeastern Ukraine that has been advancing for several days. The Ukrainian military intelligence chief, Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, speaking via a video call from a bunker in Kharkiv, told the New York Times on May 13.

Last week, Russian troops crossed the border and launched a new offensive targeting Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city after Kyiv, capturing at least nine border villages and displacing thousands of civilians. As of May 13, Russian forces reportedly occupied 109 km² in the area, with Ukraine’s General Staff noting Russian “tactical successes” near the town of Vovchansk.

The situation is on the edge,” Budanov said. “Every hour this situation moves toward critical.”

General Budanov stated that Russia’s northeastern attacks aim to stretch Ukraine’s thin reserves, forcing a difficult redirection of troops from other fronts to bolster defenses, which is happening now.

All of our forces are either here or in Chasiv Yar,” he said, referring to a Donetsk Oblast town that has been Russia’s major target for months. “I’ve used everything we have. Unfortunately, we don’t have anyone else in the reserves.”

Budanov evaluated that while Ukrainian forces should be capable of reinforcing their defensive positions and stabilizing the front lines within the next several days, but Russia is likely to initiate a fresh offensive further north of Kharkiv Oblast, particularly targeting Sumy Oblast.

Situation in Ukraine’s northeast as of 16 May 2024. Map: liveuamap

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