#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. Kharkiv: Putin wants a military health zone, Zelensky: everything is under control

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The United States considers the situation of the Ukrainian troops “incredibly desperate” according to the State Department. The Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) has moved the elite assault brigade of the Ukrainian national police “Lyut” in the direction of Kharkiv near Chasiv Yar, law enforcement officials said.

The Guardian reports that British intelligence had warned Ukrainian authorities of the preparation of a Russian offensive in the Kharkiv region. Unprepared defensive lines, delays in the supply of weapons and lack of manpower prevented it from being stopped, according to The Guardian.

Reuters reported the same news: “Ukraine is preparing for a major Russian offensive in the coming weeks.”

Another source reports that Western analysts note that the Kharkiv offensive by the Russian armed forces appears to be an attempt to drag the limited reserves of the Ukrainian armed forces into battle before the start of the main summer offensive.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a headquarters meeting in Kharkiv on May 16 where he listened to the report of Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrsky and commanders of the OSUV “Khortitsa” and OTU “Kharkiv” on the situation on the ground, on the tasks and needs of the brigades and units, in particular in Kharkiv region, in the areas of Vovčans’k  and Lyptsi. Zelenskyj, underlining that this sector remains extremely difficult.

Ukraine may lose Kharkiv if it does not receive two Patriot air defense systems, Zelensky said in an interview with the American ABC television channel on May 16. In the same interview he said that the brigades are not fully equipped because they have not been able to receive an aid package from the United States for many months. When the host asked him if what was happening in Kharkiv was the fault of the United States, Zelensky replied that “it is the fault of the world.”

On May 17, Zelensky said that the situation with military operations in the Kharkiv region has “stabilized.” Ukrainians lost 10 settlements in less than 10 days. “The “North” group took control of 12 settlements in the Kharkiv region in one week,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in the morning briefing on May 17.

“As a result of active operations, units of the “North” troop group advanced into the depths of the enemy’s defense and defeated units of the national formation “Kraken” and “Foreign Legion”, manpower and equipment of the 125th Land Defense Brigade, 15th detachment of border in the areas of the settlements of Dergachi, Liptsy and Volchansk, Kharkiv region” Again source Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

Russian President Vladimi Putin reassured Zelensky: “Russia currently has no intention of taking Kharkiv. Russia needs to understand who it can deal with in Ukraine and who to trust, the situation is being analyzed, Putin continued. “In general, there is a basis for the negotiation process, these are the Istanbul agreements, the president emphasized. Putin linked the operation of the Russian Armed Forces in the direction of Kharkiv with the creation of a health zone in response to the shelling of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”

“Peace formulas in Ukraine, “based on wishes” and not on the real situation, cannot be discussed, Putin said. “Russia is ready to participate in peace negotiations on Ukraine, but is not invited to a conference in Switzerland” . And again he said: “The question of Zelenskiy’s legitimacy must be resolved by the Ukrainian legal and political system. For Russia, the question of Zelensky’s legitimacy is important: the fateful documents must be signed with legitimate authorities”.

President Zelensky was disavowed by his commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU), Olexander Syrsky, who announced the danger of Russian units entering the rear of the Ukrainian troops in the Kharkiv region.

However, those who said they were surprised by the Russian advance in Kharkiv were French Air Force General Bruno Clermont: “The advance of the Russian forces in the Kharkiv region was a surprise for everyone, even from the American intelligence, no information was received. warning,” said French Air Force General Bruno Clermont.

“This (the advance of Russian forces near Kharkiv) is a surprise for the Ukrainian army, but also for everyone… There was not even a warning from the American intelligence services,” Clermont noted in a interview with the magazine Valeurs Actuelles. “However, he clarified, it is difficult to say whether the Americans were aware of the Russian army’s offensive.” The French officer stressed that thesituation is now in favor of Russia.

Already on April 10, AGC wrote that Zelensky was in Kharkiv visiting the front to closely observe the construction of fortifications, constructions that had not previously been considered necessary.

Graziella Giangiulio 

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