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10 May, 2024 23:47

Russia preparing ‘larger assault’ in Ukraine – White House

The US is sending another $400 million worth of weapons to help Kiev hold off Moscow’s possible push on Kharkov
Russia preparing ‘larger assault’ in Ukraine – White House

The White House national security adviser has suggested Russian forces could be preparing a large-scale advance on the Ukrainian city of Kharkov, after Kiev accused Moscow of renewing its military activity in the region.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry and President Vladimir Zelensky claimed on Friday that Russia had attacked several positions along its border with Kharkov Region.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters later in the day that Washington is concerned that Moscow maybe preparing a major offensive on Ukraine's second most populous city.

“It is certainly possible that the Russians are setting themselves up for a larger assault on Kharkov,” Kirby said at a virtual press briefing. “You’re not going to do that if you’re not also thinking about some other larger assault directly on the city.” 

Moscow has not provided information on its activities near Kharkov, besides reporting the capture of two villages on the region’s border with Russia’s Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR).

Over the past few months, Ukrainian forces have used Kharkov as a springboard to launch indiscriminate drone, artillery and missile attacks on Russian border regions, primarily Belgorod, and to stage multiple unsuccessful attempts to break through the border.

On Friday, the US announced another $400 million military aid package, the third in recent weeks. Washington also approved the emergency sale of three HIMARS systems worth an estimated $30 million, to be funded by Germany.

While the US recently approved a long-awaited $61 billion aid package for Ukraine last month, officials in Kiev told the Financial Times it would only “help to slow down the Russian advance, but not stop it.”

Moscow has said that the new weapons deliveries would not succeed in turning the tide of the conflict. According to Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, Russian forces are in full control of the battlefield situation and are steadily advancing. Throughout April, Ukrainian forces lost around 1,000 soldiers per day on average, the minister said earlier this month, estimating Kiev’s military losses at 111,000 this year alone.