Zelensky vows to quash new Russian offensive in Ukraine's Kharkiv region

Ukraine vowed Friday to quash a surprise Russian ground offensive, after troops launched a major cross-border assault in the Kharkiv region, looking to chalk up fresh battlefield gains with Ukraine on the back foot.

Russian forces made small advances in the border zone it was pushed back from nearly two years ago. President Volodymyr Zelensky said a "fierce battle" was underway for control of the area.

Civilians were told to flee and heavy fighting was reported as Ukraine's outgunned army rushed in reinforcements to defend the region, which has been mostly under Ukrainian control since September 2022.

"Russia launched a new wave of counter-offensive actions in this area. Ukraine met them there with our troops, brigades and artillery ... Now there is a fierce battle under way," Zelensky told a press conference in Kyiv.

In a later social media post after meeting his commander-in-chief, Zelensky reported "heavy battles along the entire front line" and promised a forceful response.

"Along our state border and along our front line, we will invariably destroy the occupier in such a way as to thwart any Russian offensive intentions," Zelensky said.

Russia has remained silent on the assault, which would be its largest land operation in that part of the battlefield since it sent thousands of troops across the border in February 2022.

'Buffer zone'


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