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Russia likely conducts initial phase of offensive operation north of Kharkiv

Russia likely conducts initial phase of offensive operation north of Kharkiv Ukrainian military personnel (Vitalii Nosach, RBC-Ukraine)

Russian forces are likely conducting the initial phase of an offensive operation north of Kharkiv, which has limited operational objectives but is intended to achieve a strategic effect of diverting Ukrainian troops and equipment from other critical sectors of the front in eastern Ukraine, according to analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Currently, Russian forces have carried out two limited actions in this area: one to the north of Kharkiv towards Lyptsi and one to the northeast of Kharkiv near Vovchansk. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported that Russian armored assault groups attempted to break through Ukrainian defenses near Vovchansk early in the morning on May 10 and that fighting in the area continued after Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults.

Russian and Ukrainian sources claim that Russian forces have also launched an assault with a large amount of infantry between Strilecha and Zelene.

Geolocation footage confirms that Russian forces have captured Pylna and advanced south of the settlement, according to ISW.

Russian sources claim that Russian forces have also captured Strilecha, Krasne, and Borisivka.

NASA Fire Information for Resource Management (FIRMS) data from May 10 indicates that heavy fighting likely occurred in these four settlements and their vicinity. "ISW assesses with high confidence, based on credible Ukrainian reporting and the preponderance of evidence, that Russian forces have seized Strilecha, Krasne, and Borisivka, but has yet to observe geolocated confirmation of this assessmen," the report said.

Russian milbloggers also claimed that Russian forces have captured Zelene, Ohirtseve, and Khatyshche (both west of Vovchansk), although ISW has not found confirmation of these claims.

ISW estimates that Russian forces have advanced towards Vovchansk, but has not seen enough evidence to assess the approximate trace of the front line nearby.

Ukrainian sources reported that fighting occurred near Krasne, Morokhovets (northeast of Lyptsi), Oliinykove (northeast of Lyptsi), and Khatyshche.

According to Reuters, the Russian army has advanced one kilometer near the border town of Vovchansk.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine claims that counterattack measures are ongoing in the directions of the settlements of Lyptsi and Vovchansk. Battles are continuing for settlements on the border that were effectively in the grey zone – Strilecha, Pylne, and Borysivka, as well as in the area of Oliinykove and Ohirtseve.