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WSJ: Russia seeks to make life in Kharkiv impossible

According to the Wall Street Journal, Moscow appears to be planning a brutal war of attrition to wipe out Kharkiv’s population, making life in the city untenable.
Rescuers extinguish a fire in an apartment building destroyed by a Russian missile attack in Kharkiv, illustrative image. Photo via Eastnews.ua.
Rescuers extinguish a fire in an apartment building destroyed by a Russian missile attack in Kharkiv, illustrative image. Photo via Eastnews.ua.
WSJ: Russia seeks to make life in Kharkiv impossible

Although the danger of a rapid offensive on Kharkiv has receded, Russia is planning a brutal war of attrition against the city of Kharkiv and its population, making life in the city untenable.

This is stated in the material of The Wall Street Journal.

The publication states that Ukrainian forces have stopped a Russian advance north of Kharkiv, but the city remains in Moscow’s crosshairs.

“Of course, Putin still wants Kharkiv,” Oleh Syniehubov, head of the region’s military administration, said.

He noted that Russia has deployed only a fraction of the troops needed to storm the city, which, according to his estimates, could require up to half a million soldiers.

Furthermore, Oleksandr Lytvynenko, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, notes that Russia could employ tactics it used during the war in Syria against Kharkiv.

Russia is ready for a long war. In the worst case, the Kremlin could repeat the strategy it used against Aleppo in Syria in 2016, when the Russian air force, supporting the Syrian government in its civil war, destroyed electricity and water sources and bombed hospitals and schools,” Lytvynenko said.

 

”People were simply displaced. This is what they want to practice around Kharkiv,” Lytvynenko said.

The publication recalls that Putin denied plans to seize Kharkiv during a state visit to China last month. According to him, the offensive is intended to create a buffer zone to protect cities near the border from Ukrainian attacks.

“The Russian campaign to terrorize Kharkiv residents was before the last offensive and may continue after it. A few weeks before Russia re-entered the region, residents received messages, apparently from local authorities, advising them to leave the city before the city was surrounded. The messages were fake – part of a Russian disinformation campaign that reveals Moscow’s intention to squeeze the life out of the city,” the media outlet concludes.

Russia prepares second offensive phase

According to Defense Intelligence, a British intelligence organization part of the British Ministry of Defense, Russian armed forces have as of this moment not succeeded in creating a ”buffer” or safety zone in the Kharkiv Oblast.

However, as the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported on 30 May, it is likely Russian forces intend to launch the second phase of their offensive operation in northern Kharkiv Oblast following their intended seizure of Vovchansk.

Senior Ukrainian military officials have reported that Russian forces are transferring additional units to the north of the Kharkiv Oblast from other areas along the frontline, indicating Russia’s continued prioritization of efforts to draw and fix Ukrainian forces in the oblast, according to the report.

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