Home News Ukraine war briefing: Kharkiv campaign won’t deliver major Russian breakthrough – Nato general | Ukraine

Ukraine war briefing: Kharkiv campaign won’t deliver major Russian breakthrough – Nato general | Ukraine

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Ukraine war briefing: Kharkiv campaign won’t deliver major Russian breakthrough – Nato general | Ukraine

  • Dan Sabbagh writes that Russia’s rapid advances in Kharkiv raise serious questions about Kyiv’s ability to defend itself. Russia had telegraphed the operation in advance and Ukraine was warned by western intelligence, Sabbagh writes – though military analysts stress there are explanations for why Ukraine has been forced back. “It’s suicidal for Ukraine to have its main line of defence on the border, where the Russians can hit you with artillery and glide bombs and the Ukrainians don’t have weapons available like Himars rocket artillery to hit back because of US restrictions,” said George Barros, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War. As a result, Russian forces were able to mass across the border in a relatively safe space, then mobilise into a lightly populated “grey zone” of Ukraine.

  • Ukraine accused Russia of capturing and killing civilians in the border town of Vovchansk and of keeping about 35 to 40 people as “human shields”. “According to operational information, the Russian military, trying to gain a foothold in the city, did not allow local residents to evacuate,” said the interior minister, Igor Klymenko. “They began abducting people and driving them to basements.” Sergiy Bolvinov, head of the Kharkiv region’s police investigation department: “The Russians keep them in one place and actually use them as a human shield, as their command headquarters is nearby.” There was no immediate response from Moscow to the allegations.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy met military leaders in Kharkiv city and said: “The situation in the Kharkiv region is generally under control, and our soldiers are inflicting significant losses on the occupier. However, the area remains extremely difficult. We are reinforcing our units.”

  • A protracted air raid alert in most of the Kharkiv region was lifted early on Friday. The regional governor, Oleh Syniehubov, said at least five drones struck Kharkiv. The public broadcaster Suspilne said an air raid alert had been in effect for more than 16 1/2 hours in Kharkiv city, the longest recorded since the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

  • Ukrainian attacks have destroyed one or more Russian warplanes and infrastructure at the Belbek airbase in occupied Crimea, according to reporting based on satellite imagery and other resources. The pro-Ukrainian partisan force Atesh said a warehouse at Belbek was hit, destroying ammunition for Russian warplanes. Multiple fires at the Belbek complex have been detected by Nasa’s satellite fire tracking service, Firms, in recent days. Ukrainian strikes using Atacms missiles were characterised by occupation authorities as having been repelled, in line with standard Russian official language playing down Ukrainian operations.

  • The US has announced sanctions on two Russian individuals and three Russian companies for facilitating arms transfers between Russia and North Korea, including ballistic missiles for use against Ukraine.

  • Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of the North Korean ruler, Kim Jong-un, denied arms exchanges with Russia, state media KCNA reported. However, UN sanctions monitors have determined that debris from a missile that landed in Kharkiv was from a North Korean Hwasong-11 series ballistic missile. US state department spokesman Matthew Miller said Russia had already used upwards of 40 North Korean-produced ballistic missiles against Ukraine, as well as munitions, having imported them in contravention of UN resolutions.

  • The International Monetary Fund will start a new Ukraine mission in coming weeks to assess its $15.6bn loan programme and latest economic developments, IMF spokesperson Julie Kozack said. The loan review mission also will revise the IMF’s analysis of Ukraine’s debt sustainability. “The Ukrainian economy has shown remarkable resilience. Although the outlook does remain subject to exceptionally high war-related uncertainty.”

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