Vovchansk fortifications built despite intense Russian shelling — local authorities

Construction of the second line of defense and fortifications in Kharkiv and Sumy oblasts. March 2024
Construction of the second line of defense and fortifications in Kharkiv and Sumy oblasts. March 2024

Fortifications were indeed erected in Vovchansk, Kharkiv Oblast, but their construction faced challenges due to relentless Russian shelling, Tamaz Gambarashvili, head of the Vovchansk Military Administration, said in an interview with Radio Svoboda on May 13.

Read also: Russian forces advance: Vovchansk gripped by destruction, fires, and shelling, reports The Telegraph

"The situation then and now remains exceedingly difficult," he said.

"The city is very close to the border... My heartfelt thanks go to the builders and all involved. Working under shelling is very dangerous."

Addressing questions regarding preparations for a potential Russian offensive, Gambarashvili said that "all necessary structures were built, although perhaps not as densely."

"Since the liberation, Vovchansk has been under constant shelling," he said.

"Both mortar fire and artillery. So I repeat: the distance from Vovchansk to the border is a mere 4 kilometers. Constructing fortifications under such circumstances was exceptionally difficult."

The most fortified structures, including reinforced concrete installations and soldier shelters, are located 17-35 kilometers from the front line, Oleksandr Yakovets, the administration head of the State Transport Special Service of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said earlier.

Russian offensive in Kharkiv Oblast

Russian occupying forces attempted to breach Ukrainian defenses near Vovchansk in Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine's Defense Ministry reported. Ukrainian defenders repelled the attacks.

The Russians also heavily shelled border towns.

Russian forces have begun a new wave of counteroffensive actions in the area, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, announcing that Ukraine will reinforce its troops in the Kharkiv front.

Read also: Over 4,000 evacuated from Kharkiv Oblast in past 48 hours, says regional governor

There are ongoing battles for populated areas in the "gray Zone" as of the evening of May 10, Ukraine's General Staff reported.

The White House suggested that Russian occupying forces are preparing for a "larger" offensive on Kharkiv

Russian forces resumed assault operations near the village of Hlyboke, media reported on the morning of May 11.

Read also: Russian invaders reportedly seize additional border villages in Kharkiv Oblast - monitoring group

Russia's troops in Kharkiv Oblast are localized in the "gray zone" and are not expanding, Khortytsia operational group spokesperson, Nazar Voloshyn, said during a TV interview on May 11.

The Russians had occupied several villages in the border areas of the Kharkiv Oblast, DeepState reported on May 12.

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