Moscow advances in Kharkiv, Lavrov launches the challenge: if the West wants to fight, we are ready


By John

Russian forces continue their advance in the northern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv and Kiev's military leaders themselves admit that Moscow is achieving “tactical successes”. The most violent fighting is taking place on the outskirts of Vovchansk, a border town of 17,000 inhabitants, about 70 km north-east of Kharkiv: according to both Ukrainian and Russian sources, Kremlin troops have advanced on the outskirts of the city, where they were gunshots reported in industrial areas.

According to the police chief of the Kharkiv region, Volodymyr Tymoshko, in the three days since the start of the Russian offensive, Vovchansk «has suffered as it has not suffered since 2022″: in particular, the Russians use a large number of guided aerial bombs to attack the city. “This is a bomb weighing 250 or even 500 kilograms, which can demolish a multi-storey building. In a way, Vovchansk is turning into Bakhmut or Maryinka,” he said.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov challenges the West: If Western countries want to resolve the Ukrainian crisis on the battlefield, then Moscow is ready, Lavrov said during the Federation Council consultations on his reappointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs. «It's their right, if they want to be on the battlefield, they will be on the battlefield», he added.

On the front, the Russian offensive continues: «at the moment the enemy has tactical success» in the fight for Vovchansk, the Ukrainian General Staff admitted in a statement on social media. Kiev's own General Staff said there was also fighting around settlements south of the Pylna settlement. “Our defenders conduct defensive actions to inflict damage on the enemy,” he says.

According to press sources, Russian troops are also advancing near Lyptsi, another small town closer to Kharkiv than Vovchansk. Kharkiv governor Oleh Syniehubov told local TV that “the enemy is deliberately trying to extend the front line, attacking in small groups, but in new directions.”

As a result of the Russian offensive, the leaders of Kiev decided to replace the commander of the Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv, reports RBC-Ukraina. “According to the decision of the military leadership, from May 11 Brigadier General Mykhailo Drapatoy was appointed commander of the operational tactical group of troops 'Kharkiv',” reads the note cited by the news site.

Drapaty, replaces General Yuriy Galushkin, and remains in office as deputy chief of staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The new head of the Kharkiv front was the head of the «Kherson» operational group until January this year. He is known as one of the commanders who led the liberation of the right-bank Kherson region in 2022. In February he was appointed deputy chief of staff for military training.