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Enemy deploying sabotage groups: What's happening near border in Kharkiv region

Enemy deploying sabotage groups: What's happening near border in Kharkiv region Photo: Ukrainian soldiers clearing out a sabotage and reconnaissance group that entered Sotnytskyi Kozachok village in Kharkiv region (Getty Images)

In recent days, Russia has been attempting to create another additional hotspot of tension in the northern Kharkiv region, specifically in the village of Sotnytskyi Kozachok, where a sabotage and reconnaissance group (DRG) attempted an incursion. Analysts believe that the adversary has managed to establish a presence in the settlement, but authorities and military officials refute this, stating that efforts are underway to eliminate remnants of the hostile group.

For more details on the current situation in Sotnytskyi Kozachok village on the border with Russia and the potential risk of expanding the front line, read the material by RBC-Ukraine below.


Where is Sotnytskyi Kozachok village located

The border village Sotnytskyi Kozachok of the Zolochiv community in Bohodukhiv district is situated on the left bank of the Lozova River (a tributary of the Vorskla River), with the village of Huriiv Kozachok located 2 km upstream. On the opposite bank lies the hamlet of Lozova Rudka in Belgorod region, Russia. Several intermittent streams with dams (structures for water flow regulation in the river) flow through the village. The area of Sotnytskyi Kozachok is 1.941 square kilometers. It is approximately 53 kilometers from here to Kharkiv.

This village, along with settlements like Huriiv Kozachok, Baranivka, and Odnorobivka, suffer the most from Russian shelling in the Zolochiv community. After a Russian military attempt to advance in the northern Kharkiv region on May 10, about 30 people remained in Sotnytskyi Kozachok, but according to local authorities, they have been evacuated in recent days. Currently, only 2 people remain in the village, and efforts are underway to evacuate them.

Enemy deploying sabotage groups: What's happening near border in Kharkiv region

Photo: The village of Sotnytskyi Kozachok in Kharkiv region is located 250 meters from the border with Russia (Google Maps)

What's happening in the village

Tonight, the DeepState project updated its interactive map of military actions in Ukraine, reporting enemy advances in the village of Sotnytskyi Kozachok. Analysts identified an area of 1.81 square kilometers as occupied by the enemy. According to their information, a Russian reconnaissance and sabotage group (DRG) recently entered the settlement and likely managed to establish a presence there.

Enemy deploying sabotage groups: What's happening near border in Kharkiv regionPhoto: DeepState marked the occupied territory in Sotnytskyi Kozachok (deepstatemap)

Later in the day, the operational-tactical group Kharkiv confirmed that there was indeed an attempt by an enemy reconnaissance and sabotage group (DRG) to infiltrate the village.

"Along the state border line, the enemy is attempting to create additional points of tension using DRG tactics. One of such groups attempted to enter the village of Sotnytskyi Kozachok, which is situated directly on the state border," military officials stated, emphasizing that Ukrainian Defense Forces are currently conducting operations to identify and eliminate remnants of the enemy group.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the State Border Guard Service, Andrii Demchenko, reported today that the enemy is attempting to apply pressure towards the settlement. However, all attempts by Russian DRG in this direction are immediately halted by Ukrainian soldiers. According to him, the aggressor is attempting to either expand the combat zone further or tie down Ukrainian forces and resources in this direction.

Local authorities have also characterized the current situation in the settlement at various levels. Oleh Syniehubov, head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration, wrote on his Telegram channel that active fighting is taking place in Sotnytskyi Kozachok village. Meanwhile, Viktor Kovalenko, head of the Zolochiv village council, told Suspilne PBC that Ukrainian Defense Forces are present in the village, and he expressed uncertainty regarding the origin of the information about enemy advances on the DeepState map.

"I cannot say where such information on the map came from. Ukrainian units are stationed in Sotnytskyi Kozachok, that's a fact," Kovalenko said.

Russian intentions and threat of opening a new front

Russian actions towards Sotnytskyi Kozachok village are viewed by military expert and former spokesman of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Vladyslav Seleznov, as an attempt to exploit weaknesses in Ukrainian defenses.

"The Russians attacked this settlement not with regular assault units, but with DRG. They have gained some control over our territory there. It seems that over the past day, the foothold they established has expanded somewhat. This is an attempt to extend the front line," Seleznov believes.

The expert recalls the events starting from May 10 this year in the northern Kharkiv region, noting that if Russian forces had succeeded in extending their foothold close to Kharkiv suburbs, they would have also attacked towards Sumy, where troop concentrations were already set to execute their plan.

"This time, the enemy did not succeed. They struck against our first line of defense. I must remind that our first line of defense structures in the Kharkiv region is located 8-10 km from the state border. Anything closer is a gray zone, extremely dangerous due to constant shelling. It's clear that countermeasures are in place, but I don't think we should expect the Ukrainian army soon to launch a large-scale offensive in this sector to push Russian invaders beyond the state border," Seleznov concludes.

According to the interlocutor, currently, in the northern part of Kharkiv region, specifically towards Vovchansk, Lukyantsi, and Hlyboke, Russian forces have effectively halted their advance due to significant losses and lack of capability to continue.

"They are conducting rotations and reinforcements. Moreover, reinforcements are being deployed under very unfavorable conditions for them. Recently, we gained the right to strike Russian territory with Western weapons, which means they cannot form their groups as close to the state border as before. Therefore, they are forced to withdraw these resources to prepare at certain distances. So I don't think the Russians currently have the capability to attack us in other areas of the front," says Seleznov.

Regarding attempts to escalate combat operations in this area, the source mentions that Russia doesn't have abundant resources, and those they do have are currently focused on key directions unfavorable to the enemy: Siversk, Toretsk, Pokrovsk, Kurakhove, and Chasiv Yar.

"It is precisely there that the enemy concentrates its efforts, as its key mission for the summer offensive campaign is to fully occupy the territory of the Donetsk region. Therefore, I don't think we should expect a scaling up of combat actions, particularly in the area near the settlement of Sotnytskyi Kozachok," Seleznyov emphasizes.

However, the expert does not rule out further enemy sabotage activities in the area.

"But this fact is unlikely to significantly impact the overall situation on the battlefield even at the operational level. Moreover, discussing the need to deploy mechanized units now to push Russian sabotage groups beyond the state border is not quite a rational approach. The enemy is being struck and the situation continues," the expert concludes.

Earlier, on the morning of May 10, 2024, the Russian army launched an offensive in the north of Kharkiv region, during which the occupiers managed to occupy several settlements and reach the city of Vovchansk. However, the active advance of the enemy in this direction was later halted, according to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksandr Syrskyi. Moreover, the adversary suffered significant losses in personnel and equipment. According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Russia advanced deepest into the Kharkiv region by 10 km, reaching the first line of defense of Ukrainian forces. The head of state also recently stated that since the offensive on the Kharkiv front failed in Russia, it urgently thinks that something can still be done to have some information victory.

Sources: statements from operational-tactical group Kharkiv, the head of Kharkiv Regional Military Administration Oleh Syniehubov, the head of Zolochiv village council Viktor Kovalenko, spokesperson for the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine Andrii Demchenko, data from Wikipedia, maps from DeepState and Google, as well as an exclusive comment from military expert and former spokesperson of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Vladyslav Seleznov.