Russian assault to capture Ukraine’s 2nd-largest city can’t be ruled out, commander says

Russian assault to capture Ukraine’s 2nd-largest city can’t be ruled out, commander says
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Kharkiv.
Kharkiv.

  • The head of Ukraine’s armed forces said a Russian offensive against Kharkiv could not be ruled out.
  • Oleksandr Syrskyi said Ukraine was preparing to city defenses against such an assault.
  • Kharkiv sits in the northeast of Ukraine and is the country’s second-largest city.

The commander in chief of Ukraine’s armed forces has said a Russian attack on Kharkiv could not be ruled out.

Oleksandr Syrskyi told Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform that his forces could not ignore reports that Russia was threatening to launch an assault on Kharkiv and that they were preparing for such an event.

“We cannot ignore any information about the enemy’s preparations for offensive operations, so we are taking all measures to adequately respond to such a possibility,” he said.

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“We are carrying out a whole complex of works on the fortification of territories and positions, installing a complex system of fences, and planning the use of our troops in the event of such actions,” he added.

Kharkiv, renowned in Ukraine as a hub of science and culture, has been coveted by Russian President Vladimir Putin since the early stages of the war.

In 2022, Russia retreated from the Kharkiv region as Ukrainian recaptured previously Russian-held territory in a lightning advance and one of Ukraine’s most significant victories of the war.

It may have symbolic as well as strategic importance to Putin, as the city has a Russian-speaking majority and was the first capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

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The city, which lies in the northeast of Ukraine, close to the Russian border, has faced frequent missile and drone attacks throughout the war.

But Russian forces renewed aerial bomb strikes on the city for the first time since 2022 on Wednesday, killing at least one person, Sergey Bolvinov, the head of the investigative police department in Kharkiv, said, per The Associated Press.

Russian forces inflicted a strike on a residential area district using a modernized UMPB D-30 guided bomb, Kharkiv, north-eastern Ukraine, March 27, 2024.
Russian forces inflicted a strike on a residential area district using a modernized UMPB D-30 guided bomb, Kharkiv, north-eastern Ukraine, March 27, 2024.

Russia also may have used its new guided bombs in the attack, Volodymyr Tymoshko, the head of Kharkiv’s regional police, said, Reuters reported.

The bomb, also known as a “gliding bomb,” has been adapted with a guidance system and wings, enabling Russian forces to employ “stand-off” tactics and strike targets from long range.

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The new design, known as the UMPB, is believed to have a “more integrated design” than previous models, as the wing is now “part of the weapon body rather than a simple conversion kit,” according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank.

Such weapons help Russian forces supplement their “inadequate” stocks of air-launched missiles and allow them to avoid using free-fall bombs that put pilots closer to the firing line, the think tank says.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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