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Ukraine war: Russia ‘advancing from multiple positions’ after delays in Western military aid, Kharkiv governor warns | World News

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Russia was able to open a new front in northeastern Ukraine because of delays in the supply of Western weapons to the frontline, the head of the region under attack has claimed.

Oleh Syniehubov, the governor of Kharkiv, rejected criticism about an alleged lack of Ukrainian fortifications on a long border shared with Russia, insisting that defences are strong – even as Russian forces capture multiple villages and fierce fighting rages.

But a Ukrainian soldier has taken the unusual step of publicly criticising Ukraine’s preparations to stop Russia from pushing into the northeast of the country – a threat that commanders had been anticipating ever since they repelled a first invasion two years ago.

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Ukraine in ‘difficult situation’

Denys, who is fighting to counter the latest offensive, said in a post on Facebook that he was speaking out because “we could die and no one will hear the truth”.

He wrote: “The first line of fortifications and mines simply did not exist.”

Describing what happened when Russian ground troops, backed by airstrikes and artillery, simply walked through the border area on Friday, he wrote: “The enemy freely entered the grey zone along the entire cordon line, which in principle should not have been grey!

“In two years, there should have been concrete fortifications… on the Ukrainian border!”

Drone footage posted on social media appears to show Russian foot soldiers advancing across a field on the Ukrainian side of the border unchallenged.

However, the frontier has long been under the threat of shelling from the Russian side – which would have made it very hard to build fortifications. Trenches and other defensive lines have been constructed closer to Kharkiv city.

attack map
Russian troops have advanced over the border into Ukraine’s Kharkiv region

Asked whether Ukraine had been slow to build fortifications to defend the region, the governor said: “We have out our military units. We are strengthening our efforts in this area as well. Therefore, I emphasise that the situation is currently fully under control.”

Yet, at the same time, he confirmed that the Russian assault was growing.

“Essentially, the frontline is expanding as the enemy is advancing from multiple positions,” Mr Syniehubov told Sky News in an interview in the regional capital of Kharkiv city.

As for whether he thought that the slowness of allies in the West to resupply Ukrainian troops with weapons and ammunition had left Ukraine exposed, he said: “Yes.”

He added: “We feel it, and our soldiers on the battlefield feel it. We have been conducting a defensive operation for practically six months, awaiting new supplies. And, of course, the enemy outweighs us in armaments – not in quality but in quantity.”

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Russia sent thousands of troops into northeastern Ukraine as part of the new offensive – the most significant attack on Kharkiv since the start of the full-scale war in February 2022.

Back then, a Ukrainian counteroffensive pushed the Russians out a few months later but they never disappeared, with Russian troops instead targeting the region with artillery and missiles from their side of the border.

The new attack has prompted thousands of civilians to flee the largest border town of Vovchansk, as well as surrounding villages.

But there is so far no sign of panic in Kharkiv city, with the governor saying there was no need to order an evacuation.

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At a checkpoint on the outskirts of the regional capital, local police and other officials on Sunday processed the papers of people who are fleeing from the border areas.

Volodymyr Tymoshko, the head of Kharkiv regional police, was at the checkpoint, having just returned from a visit to Vovchansk and confirmed that Russian forces were on the edge of the town.

“Vovchansk is suffering greatly from shelling right now,” he said.

“I was just there literally 20 minutes ago. The town is almost destroyed. If this were to continue for several more days, there would be nothing left at all.”

As for whether he was worried that the Russians would reach Kharkiv city, the police chief said: “Whether they can or cannot, it all depends solely on our defence forces, the armed forces, and on us… They will stop where they are stopped.”

He added: “Generally, Russia will stop where it is stopped. If it doesn’t stop in Ukraine, tomorrow it will be in Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, they will go further.”

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