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Estonian intelligence suggests reasons for Russia's offensive in Kharkiv region

Estonian intelligence suggests reasons for Russia's offensive in Kharkiv region Archive photo: Estonian intelligence assesses Russian offensive in Kharkiv region (Getty Images)
Author: Daryna Vialko

The activity of the Russian armed forces in the Kharkiv region indicates the creation of a buffer zone rather than the intention to capture Kharkiv, according to the Estonian Defense Forces Intelligence Center, Ants Kiviselg.

Russian army goals in Kharkiv region

According to him, the Russian forces are advancing in the recently opened Kharkiv direction, but their pace is slowing down.

“This and the nature of the actions of the Russian armed forces rather indicate a desire to create a buffer zone," Kiviselg said.

He also noted that Russian troops have attacked and destroyed important bridges in the vicinity of Vovchansk, which creates a natural barrier between Ukrainian troops and the Russian army.

Russians want to build a defense line

The Estonian intelligence chief clarified that Russia's actions in the region indicate its intention to build a defense line, not to create a foothold for advancing on Kharkiv.

According to Kiviselg, Russian armed forces units have penetrated up to 8 kilometers deep - a zone within reach of Russian artillery.

The military emphasized that this is the reason why Ukraine could not build a defense system closer than 10-20 kilometers from the border and build strong fortifications within 3-5 kilometers from it.

Number of Russian soldiers in the Kharkiv direction

Kiviselg said that the North grouping of troops is operating in the Kharkiv direction, with the aim of hindering the advance of Ukrainian reserve forces and supporting its offensive in the Donetsk direction.

“About 2,000 people are involved in direct combat in the Kharkiv direction, another 1,500-2,000 fighters are in reserve. In total, about 35,000 servicemen of the Russian Armed Forces are concentrated in the area, and the grouping is likely to increase in the near future,” he said.

At the same time, the Estonian intelligence chief does not think that Russia will be able to concentrate 300,000 people in this direction, which, according to various estimates, is the minimum required number of troops to capture Kharkiv.

Russian forces advance in the Kharkiv region

The Russian forces have recently launched an offensive in the north of Kharkiv region and managed to capture several settlements. However, Ukrainian troops are holding back the advance.

Today, Vladimir Putin spoke about the Russian offensive in the Kharkiv region. He explained that Moscow wanted to create a sanitary zone.