Russia launches new wave of invasion in Kharkiv region, seizing several villages

Russian invading troops have launched a new invasion in the north of the Kharkiv region, north-east of Ukraine. This is a new attempt by the Russians, following the start of the full-scale invasion in February 2022 and Ukraine’s liberation of areas in the Kharkiv region in the fall of the same year.

Over the last year, the Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions saw major fighting. The Russians also launched an attack in the direction of Kupiansk, in the east of the Kharkiv region. However, there have been no new incursions in the north of the Kharkiv region.

According to DeepState analysts, Russians captured nine villages in the Kharkiv region in three days—the first six settlements and then three more. So, the Russians reopened a new front.

According to the platform, Russian troops advanced near Verbove, Krasnohorivka, Netailove, west of Semenivka, and east of Novopokrovske, occupying villages in the Kharkiv region: Morokhovets, Oliynykove, and Zelene.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that in the Kharkiv sector, “the operational situation remains complicated and dynamically changing, but the invaders are tactically successful in the battles for Vovchansk.”

On May 10, it became known that Russian invading forces began massive shelling of the Kharkiv region, and fighting broke out there. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense announced the deployment of reserve units to the northern part of the Kharkiv region.

The Russian invaders resumed their assault near the village of Hlyboke in the Kharkiv region on May 11. The Ukrainian Armed Forces stated that the “gray zone” in the Kharkiv region was not expanding. The Ukrainian military is repelling the Russians, but Putin’s troops have managed to enter several settlements in the Kharkiv region, according to DeepState.

Meanwhile, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin replaced Sergei Shoigu with Andrei Belousov as Russia’s defense minister on May 12, moving Shoigu to the post of Security Council secretary to replace Nikolai Patrushev.

According to experts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Putin is making changes, particularly in the Russian Defense Ministry, in preparation for a protracted war in Ukraine and possibly a future confrontation with NATO.

According to analysts, these high-level reshuffles after Russia’s pseudo-presidential election strongly suggest that Putin is taking significant steps to mobilize the Russian economy and defense industry to support a protracted war in Ukraine and possibly prepare for a future confrontation with NATO.

Experts add that Belousov’s nearly decade-long tenure as Minister of Economy in the Russian federal government, as well as his recent involvement in managing various domestic innovative projects in the defense industry and drones, have prepared him well to lead the struggling Russian Defense Ministry.

Experts add that Shoigu’s replacement of Patrushev as Security Council Secretary is in line with Putin’s overall policy of quietly displacing senior security officials by giving them peripheral roles in Russia’s security sphere rather than simply firing them.

ISW notes that in the past, Putin has similarly sidelined failed generals by appointing them to peripheral security and defense-related positions outside of their direct chain of command, sometimes allowing them to “redeem themselves and return to Putin’s service.”

In addition to dismissing Patrushev, Putin has largely reappointed the heads of Russia’s main security services, indicating that he retains a core of loyal security officials.

A new Russian offensive, a new frontline, and defense leadership appointments by Putin show that the Kremlin is determined to intensify its war efforts, and this requires a stronger response from Ukraine’s allies.

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