Buffer or ruse?: Russia's new offensive in northeast Ukraine 'not an open road to Kharkiv'

Over the past three days, Russia has seized control of several localities north of Kharkiv in a fierce new offensive that could bring Moscow to the gates of Ukraine’s second-largest city. FRANCE 24 spoke to several military analysts who believe that it is still too early to speak of a turning point in Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Russian troops are pressing ahead with a new offensive in northeastern Ukraine in one of the most significant ground attacks since Moscow’s full-scale invasion began in February 2022.

After Russia’s surprise cross-border incursions last Friday, troops are now advancing towards Kharkiv, a city that in 2022 became a key symbol of fierce Ukrainian resistance against Russian aggression.

Russian forces "continued to make tactically significant advances north and northeast of Kharkiv City on May 13”, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US military think-tank known for its daily updates on the conflict in Ukraine, said on Monday evening.

“In the past three days, Russian troops … have poured across Ukraine's northeastern border and seized at least nine villages and settlements,” the New York Times reported, in a bleak account of what is being presented as a Russian breakthrough in Ukraine.

Russia’s sudden advance also appears to have taken Kyiv by surprise, potentially opening up a new front that could boost Moscow’s spring offensive.

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