Russian Forces Break Through in Northern Kharkov Region, Heading for Logistics Hub Kupyansk – Ukrainians Order Evacuation of Dozens of Settlements in the Region

After months of positional battles and a real stalemate in terms of the line of contact, there was finally a breakthrough in the northern region of Kharkov. But not, mind you, by the Ukrainian forces.

It was the Russian Federation forces who formed an offensive group and are displacing the AFU from strongholds and villages, leveling the defense line towards the important rail hub of Kupyansk, a few kilometers away.

The assault groups are working in coordination with artillery and aviation, and inflicting heavy losses on the Ukrainian defenders.

And what’s more, Russian officials in the region expressed confidence that the conditions for a ‘global, large-scale offensive on Kharkov’ would soon be set.

Russian analyst Boris Rozhin wrote in his channel

“The situation in this direction for the Armed Forces of Ukraine is rapidly becoming more complicated. […] Kupyansk, to which the Russian army is only 7 km away, as well as the objects of the Armed Forces of Ukraine around it, is located in the zone of destruction of Russian artillery.”

Simultaneous Russian advances towards Kamenka and Dvurechnaya in the north-east of the Kharkiv region forced the Ukrainians to stretch their forces and ‘decompress’ the defense in these directions.

“For the past four weeks, all the border facilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – headquarters of companies and battalions, warehouses with fuel and ammunition – have been actively worked out by Russian aviation. […] After several weeks of air strikes on the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Kupyansky district, almost all units of the Ukrainian army began to experience a shortage of ammunition.”

Kupyansk is one of the central logistics hubs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Kharkov direction, linking three regions of Ukraine.

“The main forces of the Ukrainian army are involved in the attack on Zaporozhye and in the South-Donetsk direction. An attempt to hold back the RF Armed Forces near Kupyansk with the help of operational reserves has so far failed.”

To defend itself, Ukraine is sending strategic reserves to the region, and may be forced to remove some units from other sectors of the front.

Whatever the case, they are poised to run into a lack of ammunition and the inability to suppress or disrupt the work of Russian aviation.

Ukrainian authorities ordered a mandatory evacuation of 37 settlements in the region.

As usual, Russian advances receive little to no coverage in the MSM, and it took the official and forced evacuation of the region to attract its attention.

Associated Press reported:

“Ukrainian authorities ordered a mandatory evacuation Thursday of nearly 12,000 civilians from 37 towns and villages in the eastern Kharkiv region, where Russian forces reportedly are making a concerted effort to punch through the front line.

The local military administration in Kharkiv’s Kupiansk district said residents must comply with the evacuation order or sign a document saying they would stay at their own risk. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar had said the previous day that “the intensity of combat and enemy shelling is high” in the area.

The city of Kupiansk and the territories around it were under Russian occupation until September 2022, when Ukrainian forces conducted a rapid offensive operation that dislodged the Kremlin’s forces from nearly the entire Kharkiv region.

The retaking of those areas strengthened Ukraine’s arguments that its troops could deliver more stinging defeats to Russia with additional armament deliveries, which its Western allies duly provided. But as Ukraine has pursued a slow-moving counteroffensive in recent weeks, Russian forces have struck back in some areas.”

The commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, Oleksandr Syrsky, has been sent to lead and evaluate the city’s defenses,  indicating the dimension of the problems there.

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