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As it happenedended1716015825

Russia-Ukraine war live: Putin tries to claim Russia isn’t after Kharkiv – despite massive attack on region

Volodymyr Zelensky claims his forces have ‘stabilised’ a Russian attack in northeast Kharkiv region

Tom Watling ,Arpan Rai
Saturday 18 May 2024 08:03 BST
Quality of Russian troops is now lower than beginning of war, says Nato Chief

Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed there are “no plans” to take the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv despite tens of thousands of his forces having recently stormed across the border into the region and getting within artillery range of the city.

Speaking on the second day of his two-day tour of China, Putin claimed he had ordered the attack to create a “buffer zone” between Ukrainian soldiers and the Russian region of Belgorod.

When asked if Russian forces planned to take control of Kharkiv city, some 20 miles from the current fighting, Putin said: “As for Kharkiv, there are no such plans as of today.”

While Ukrainian officials and military analysts maintain that Russian forces in the Kharkiv region do not have the manpower or weaponry to take its namesake capital, and that the attack is likely an attempt to create a “buffer zone”, as Putin puts it, as well as draw Ukrainian forces away from other battles further east, there is little doubt that Russia would try to invade the city if it had the capability.


Putin and Xi Jinping claim their ‘unprecedented partnership’ is a stabilising influence at Beijing talks

Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held talks in Beijing on Thursday aimed at presenting a united front amid the pomp and spectacle of a state visit that was being closely watched around the world.

There was not a great deal of substance to the statements issued publicly by the two leaders after their meeting, which included a state dinner on Thursday night as well as talks ranging across a broad range of subjects from the war in Ukraine to their shared trade interests.

But nor was there any sign that recent US sanctions against Chinese companies exporting to Russia had dampened Mr Xi’s enthusiasm for relations with the man he welcomed as his “old friend”.

Read the full article here:

Putin and Xi Jinping laud world stabilising influence at Beijing talks

Putin refers to his invasion of a European neighbour euphemistically as the ‘situation in Ukraine’ as Xi says he hopes to see ‘peace and stability’ in the continent

Holly Evans17 May 2024 00:00

AP gets rare look as Ukraine tries to slow Russia with drones on new front

AP gets rare look as Ukraine tries to slow Russia with drones on new front

From the sky, the Ukrainian drone unit commander had a bird’s-eye view of Russia’s renewed offensive playing out in the country’s war-ravaged northeast

Holly Evans17 May 2024 01:00

Ukraine’s Zelensky cancels foreign visits as Putin’s forces advance around Kharkiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has cancelled all his upcoming foreign trips as he looks to concentrate on Russia’s advance in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region.

It comes as US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced a new $2 billion (£1.6bn) weapons deal during a visit to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, before suggesting Washington could sign a bilateral agreement with Ukraine in the coming weeks.

Mr Blinken did not go into detail about what would be included in the latest pledge, which will be drawn from the $61bn package passed by Congress last month.

Read the full article here:

Zelensky cancels foreign visits as Putin’s forces advance around Kharkiv

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his military were advancing ‘according to plan’ in the Kharkiv region during a war meeting with his top generals

Holly Evans17 May 2024 02:00

It’s horrifying what’s happened to Ukrainians with disabilities during Russia’s war

Used as human shields, starved or deprived of medicines, tortured, abducted, disappeared. These are the potential crimes that have been committed against people with disabilities since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, according to a new 18-month investigation by The Independent.

That doesn’t even cover what those close to the frontline face with no way of getting to shelter or accessing food and water, under some of the most ferocious bombardments of our time.

As Maksym – a Ukrainian man with a disability who was disappeared into Russia early on in the war – told me, those with disabilities are the last to be remembered and the first to be left behind.

Read the full article from Bel Trew here:

We cannot abandon Ukrainians with disabilities suffering during war

Comment: Reporting on the kidnapping and abuse of the most vulnerable in Ukrainian society makes one thing clear, writes Bel Trew: in war people with disabilities are the last to be remembered and the first to be left behind

Holly Evans17 May 2024 03:00

Zelensky seeks to boost troop morale with visit to Kharkiv as soldiers battle Putin’s advancing forces

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky sought to boost the morale his troops with a visit to the northeastern city of Kharkiv – with Russian forces making advances across the region.

Kyiv has rushed military units from other parts of the 600-mile front lines to shore up its forces in the area where the Russians launched their attack a week ago, exploiting weak fortifications and undergunned Ukrainian forces to make rapid advances which have sent thousands of refugees fleeing from their homes.

Vladimir Putin‘s forces have made inroads of at least several kilometres into the north of Kharkiv region since Friday, with the city of Kharkiv itself only about 30 miles from the border with Russia.

Read the full article here:

Zelenky seeks to boost troop morale with Kharkiv visit as battle rages

Askold Krushelnycky reports from Ukraine's second city, where the country's president met with generals. Residents say they will dig in if Putin's forces get close to support the soldiers fighting on the frontline

Holly Evans17 May 2024 04:00

Ukraine says it has halted Russian advance in Kharkiv town

Ukrainian soldiers fighting street battles have finally halted Russian forces near Kharkiv, foiling their advance to capture the key northeastern town of Vovchansk, military officials said.

Ukraine’s General Staff confirmed in a midday report yesterday that the Russian attempts to grab a foothold in Vovchansk “have been foiled”.

The town, among the largest in the Kharkiv region, had a pre-war population of 17,000.

As of yesterday evening, Ukrainian authorities had evacuated some 8,000 civilians from the town. The Russian army’s usual tactic is to reduce towns and villages to ruins with aerial strikes before its units move in.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, calculated that Russian forces attacking in Kharkiv have advanced no more than 8km (5 miles) from the shared border.

It reckons Moscow’s main aim in Kharkiv is to create a “buffer zone” that will prevent Ukrainian cross-border strikes on Russia’s neighbouring Belgorod region.

Arpan Rai17 May 2024 04:32

Russia incapable of major advance in Ukraine, says Nato military chief

Nato’s top military officer has said he believes that Russia’s armed forces are incapable of any major gains in Ukraine at the moment.

“The Russians don’t have the numbers necessary to do a strategic breakthrough, we don’t believe,” US General Christopher Cavoli, Nato’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, told reporters after a meeting of the organisation’s top military brass in Brussels.

“More to the point, they don’t have the skill and the capability to do it; to operate at the scale necessary to exploit any breakthrough to strategic advantage,” he said.

On being asked about whether Russia might be about to launch its anticipated summer offensive early, General Cavoli said “we can never be sure,” but he added that “what we don’t see is large numbers of reserves being generated some place” which would be needed for any such offensive.

Arpan Rai17 May 2024 04:35

Zelensky says Kharkiv’s difficult situation ‘under control’

Volodymyr Zelensky said he met with his top military chiefs fighting the Russian offensive in Kharkiv and that the fierce fighting there is now “generally under control”.

He acknowledged on social media that the situation is “extremely difficult” and said Ukraine was again strengthening its units in Kharkiv. Mr Zelensky also met with wounded soldiers and handed out medals.

“We clearly see how the occupier is trying to distract our forces and make our combat work less concentrated,” he said in his nightly video address.

In Russia, former Russian defence minister and now the head of the presidential Security Council Sergei Shoigu insisted Russian troops are pushing the offensive in many directions and that “it’s going quite well.”

“I hope we will keep advancing. We have certain reserves for the purpose, in personnel, equipment and munitions,” he said in televised remarks.

Arpan Rai17 May 2024 04:59

Russia expels UK defence attache in tit-for-tat diplomatic row

Russia has expelled Britain’s defence attache in a tit-for-tat response to the expulsion of one of its own diplomats from London last week, the country’s foreign ministry has said.

Captain Adrian Coghill, a Royal Naval officer based at the British Embassy in Moscow, was given a week to leave the country on Thursday, according to a post on the Russian foreign ministry’s Telegram channel.

The move follows the expulsion on May 8 of Russia’s defence attache in London, Colonel Maxim Elovik, on the grounds that he was an “undeclared military intelligence officer”.

Read the full article here:

Russia expels UK defence attache in tit-for-tat diplomatic row

The UK expelled Russia’s defence attache earlier this month on the grounds he was an ‘undeclared military intelligence officer’.

Holly Evans17 May 2024 05:00

Mother-son duo killed in drone attack, says Russia

A Ukrainian drone strike killed a mother and her four-year-old son who were travelling in a car in Russia’s southern Belgorod region, the regional governor said early today.

Vyacheslav Gladkov said one of several drones fired at the region hit a car in the village of Oktyabrsky, killing a woman at the site of the attack.

Her young son died of his injuries after being taken to a hospital. The boy’s father and a man driving the car were injured, but survived.

Additionally, the Russia-appointed governor of the port of Sevastopol in Crimea said air defence units intercepted several Ukrainian drones over the city.

Arpan Rai17 May 2024 05:10

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