'Just 10 km': Russia hasn't even reached Ukraine's concrete fortifications in Kharkiv Oblast - Zelenskyy

Zelenskyy about situation in Kharkiv Oblast
Zelenskyy about situation in Kharkiv Oblast

Russian troops have advanced no more than 10 kilometers and Ukrainian Defense Forces have stabilized the frontline, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said at a meeting with journalists on May 17, RBC-Ukraine reported.

"They advanced a maximum of 10 kilometers,” Zelenskyy said.

“Some enemy brigades did not advance at all."

The Russians have not yet reached the main concrete defense lines, they are at the first line of defense, Interfax-Ukraine wrote, citing the President’s comments.

"No one has reached the concrete defense line, what they say is delusional," he told reporters.

It is impossible to build concrete fortifications on the first line of defense, Zelenskyy explained.

There are only fortifications built under constant Russian fire. The same applies to the second line.

The third line is being built by local authorities - and it is the strongest one, he said.

Russian advance in Kharkiv Oblast

The Russians have heavily shelled border settlements in Kharkiv Oblast.

Russian troops initiated a new wave of counteroffensives on this front, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said while announcing the redeployment of Ukrainian forces to the Kharkiv sector.

Russia had tactical successes near Vovchansk on May 13, the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff said, adding that the situation on the Kharkiv front remained difficult.

The attack on Vovchansk and an attempt to encircle the city is a priority goal of Russian troops, the Institute for the Study of War believes.

Vovchansk was almost completely destroyed by relentless Russian shelling on May 14, local authorities reported, adding that the situation in the city is critical.

Russian invaders were taking positions on the streets of Vovchansk on May 15, Vochchansk's patrol police chief, Oleksiy Kharkivsky, reported.

The advance of Russian troops into northern Vovchansk was later confirmed by Ukraine's General Staff.

Zelenskyy came to Kharkiv on May 16 and held a meeting on security issues. Internal Affairs Minister Ihor Klymenko reported on the first cases of capture and execution of civilians in Vovchansk.

The situation in Kharkiv Oblast is "very serious", Zelenskyy said, commenting on the Russian offensive.

Zelenskyy came to Kharkiv Oblast because hundreds of people have died or been injured over the past few days, so it was important for him to support them.

NATO is convinced that Russia does not have sufficient forces for a strategic breakthrough in Kharkiv Oblast, though they admitted that some tactical success is possible, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Christopher Cavoli, said on May 17.

Ukraine’s Defense Forces are currently conducting ‘clean-up operations’ in the north of Vovchansk, which prevents Russian troops from gaining a foothold there, Ukraine’s General Staff reported on May 17.

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