Kharkiv, the Russian army’s next target? – The Express

Kharkiv the Russian armys next target – The Express

The deafening sirens, the incessant bombings, the drones rocketing through the sky… This is the daily life of the inhabitants of Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine located near the border with Russia. Six people were killed following the latest attack on the night of April 6. On that date, the Russians fired 32 Iranian-made Shahed drones, mainly on civilian targets: apartment buildings, a gas station, around ten cars, etc.

In February 2022, quickly after the start of the Russian offensive, the Moscow army managed to advance to the gates of Kharkiv, before being pushed back to the border during Ukraine’s counter-offensive. , in September 2022. Since then, the bombings were less frequent and the population had increased to 1.3 million inhabitants (compared to 2 million before the war), we can read in Le Figaro.

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But in recent months, strikes have resumed and are continuing in Kharkiv, as well as in the surrounding region. Groups of Russian soldiers were even seen in the city, “to stoke fear”, as reported by The Washington Post.

Within striking distance, “Kharkiv is one of the easiest targets” for Moscow, underlines the American daily. “The city is so close to the border that even modern air defense systems would struggle to respond in time to Russian high-speed missiles.”

Rumors relayed by several media

This proximity and this long-standing desire have fueled, in recent days, rumors of a large-scale strike aimed, according to the BBC, to conquer Kharkiv. The latter is “protected” and is “not in danger”, assures the president, Volodymyr Zelensky. For Ukrainian intelligence, these rumors are an integral part of a “psychological destabilization operation” on the part of Moscow, as mentioned The Kiyv Independentspecifying that nothing indicates that the Kremlin is preparing a new ground offensive.

Despite the reassuring tone of Ukrainian officials, in kyiv, the threat is not taken lightly. “Fortifications” and “complex fence systems” are being erected around Kharkiv, according to the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, Oleksandr Syrsky, who spoke in the columns of the weekly Zerkalo Nedeli.

In its analysis, the BBC estimates that such an attack would stop Ukrainian strikes on the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine. Located around a hundred kilometers from Kharkiv, this territory is the regular target of Ukrainian bombings. In late March, 5,000 miners were evacuated from the region after a series of cross-border bombings and drone strikes killed a dozen civilians on the Russian side.

Furthermore, such an operation would require the mobilization of some 300,000 additional men within the Russian army, according to the BBC. The new spring military conscription, announced by Vladimir Putin on March 29, therefore promises to be decisive.