Russian forces advance: Vovchansk gripped by destruction, fires, and shelling, reports The Telegraph

Vovchansk resident
Vovchansk resident

The renewed Russian offensive in Ukraine’s Kharkiv Oblast brought a “sense of weary déjà vu” to the remaining 4,000 residents of the town of Vovchansk and nearby villages, who spent six months under enemy occupation in the early stages of the full-scale invasion, The Telegraph wrote on May 12.

“It has been crazy, just non-stop shelling for three days,” said an evacuee Oksana Velychko, 45, as she hugged her tearful 10-year-old daughter Kristina.

“It was just unbearable for the kids - lots of houses wrecked, and all the forests burning. We’re off to Kharkiv now where hopefully the social workers will find us somewhere to stay. God forbid the Russians don’t start attacking Kharkiv too, because we need some peace.”

Tt finally became too much for another evacuee, 51-year-old Olena, when a Russian shell destroyed a neighbor’s home and tore the roof off her own house. Clutching a bag of belongings and her dog, she left her home and fled in an evacuation convoy organized by police and volunteers.

“The situation is absolutely f---ed, we had glide bombs coming in really close everywhere, and loads of Russian drones flying over,” she told The Telegraph.

“It has always been pretty crazy around here anyway, but nothing like as crazy as it is now - before, the Russians would at least give us a bit of a break between shelling.”

Three civilians were killed and at least seven injured, with another reported missing, said Tamaz Hambarashvili, the town’s administration head and  the evacuation attempts supervisor.

“We’ve evacuated 600 people, although many others have just left in their own cars,” he told The Telegraph in between fielding constant mobile phone calls. “Even before now, this area was getting heavily shelled every day, but now it’s just massive.”

Indeed, to an outsider, it can seem remarkable that anyone still chooses to live in Vovchansk at all. Parts of it are already half-flattened from the past two years of war, and in the fields and pine forests, grinning red skull signs warn of minefields. The 3,000-odd residents who have stuck it out here have done so either out of patriotism, bloody-minded stubbornness, or simply because they have nowhere else to go.

Russian offensive in Kharkiv Oblast

Russian occupying forces attempted to breach Ukrainian defenses near Vovchansk in Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine's Defense Ministry reported. Ukrainian defenders repelled the attacks.

The Russians also heavily shelled border towns.

Russian forces have begun a new wave of counteroffensive actions in the area, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, announcing that Ukraine will reinforce its troops in the Kharkiv front.

There are ongoing battles for populated areas in the "gray Zone" as of the evening of May 10, Ukraine's General Staff reported.

The White House suggested that Russian occupying forces are preparing for a "larger" offensive on Kharkiv

Russian forces resumed assault operations near the village of Hlyboke, media reported on the morning of May 11.

Read also:

Russia's troops in Kharkiv Oblast are localized in the "gray zone" and are not expanding, Khortytsia operational group spokesperson, Nazar Voloshyn, said during a TV interview on May 11.

The Russians had occupied several villages in the border areas of the Kharkiv Oblast, DeepState reported on May 12.

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