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Ukraine updates: Kharkiv residents near border relocate

Published May 11, 2024last updated May 11, 2024

Kharkiv's governor said that almost 1,800 people had been moved from areas near the front line for their own safety. Russia sought to reactivate what had been an almost frozen front on Friday. DW has more.

Residents from Vovchansk and nearby villages wait for buses amid an evacuation to Kharkiv due to Russian shelling
Over 1700 people have been evacuated from the Ukraine-Russia border in Kharkiv regionImage: Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/REUTERS
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

Over 1,700 civilians have been relocated from the border towns of the Kharkiv region a day after Russia mounted an armored ground offensive there, according to local officials.

Here's a look at the latest developments in Russia's war in Ukraine on Saturday, May 11:

Skip next section Three killed in Ukrainian strike on Donetsk — Russia-backed officials
May 11, 2024

Three killed in Ukrainian strike on Donetsk — Russia-backed officials

A Ukrainian missile strike killed three people and wounded eight in the eastern city of Donetsk, according to Moscow-backed officials in the region.

Denis Pushilin, the head of the Russian-installed administration in the eastern Donetsk region, said that there were two strikes by US HIMARS precision rocket launchers hit a restaurant and damaged the roof of a partially-constructed building nearby.

Russia claimed to annex the Donetsk region in September 2022.

Meanwhile, Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Russia's southwestern Belgorod region, said that one man had been killed and another had been injured in a Ukrainian drone attack on the village of Novostroyevka-Peryava, which lies near the Ukrainian border.

The governor of the neighboring Kursk region, Roman Starovoit, said that a civilian had died in hospital after being wounded in a drone strike on the border town of Sudzha.

Skip next section Russia claims gains in Kharkiv region
May 11, 2024

Russia claims gains in Kharkiv region

Russia's Defense Ministry says that its forces have captured several villages in eastern Ukraine.

According to the ministry, Moscow's forces took six villages in the northeastern Kharkiv region near the border with Russia — Borysivka, Ohirtseve, Pletenivka and Strilecha.

Also captured was the village of Keramik in the eastern Donetsk region.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian military spokesman Nazar Voloshyn said that "fighting for villages … continues in the border area."

The reports could not be independently confirmed.

Russia claims more advances after Ukraine ground offensive: Military analyst Marina Miron speaks to DW

The announcement comes after Kharkiv Governor Oleh Synehubov ordered the evacuation of 1,775 residents.

The Kharkiv region has mostly been under Ukrainian control since September 2022. Russian forces control most of the neighboring Luhansk region.

Skip next section Poland to reinforce its eastern border
May 11, 2024

Poland to reinforce its eastern border

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Poland is starting work on further reinforcements on its eastern border as the country faces a growing threat from Belarus

"We have begun intensive work on a modern fortification that is to be built along Poland's entire eastern border," Tusk said during a visit to Karakule on the Polish-Belarusian border. 

He also cited "the growing threat resulting from the Russian-Ukrainian war, Russia's aggression against Ukraine, and the uncertain geopolitical situation."

Over the past two years, Poland secured a large stretch of its border with Belarus with a 5.5-metre fence and an electronic surveillance system.

Tusk said the new fortifications would be along the "entire eastern border," which could also include Ukraine and Russia, although he gave no details.

Polish Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz recently said bunkers and trenches will be constructed along the country's border with Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

Skip next section Airstrike in Russia-occupied Luhansk kills 3, governor says
May 11, 2024

Airstrike in Russia-occupied Luhansk kills 3, governor says

A Ukrainian strike killed three people, injured eight and triggered a large fire at an oil storage depot in Ukraine's occupied Luhansk region, the region's Russia-installed governor said.

Governor Leonid Pasechnik said eight people were hospitalized after the attack in the town of Rovenky, 60 kilometers (36 miles) from the regional centre of Luhansk.

Six suffered injuries from the blast, and two suffered from smoke inhalation, he wrote on Telegram.

It was the second such assault in three days. On Wednesday, an attack on an oil depot in the town of Luhansk injured five people. 

Russian forces control most, but not all, of Luhansk region, one of four regions annexed by Russiain the aftermath of it launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Skip next section Kharkiv governor says 1,775 people relocated
May 11, 2024

Kharkiv governor says 1,775 people relocated

Hundreds of civilians were evacuated from Ukraine's border with Russia in the Kharkiv region, the local governor said on Saturday, a day after Moscow launched a renewed ground offensive there.

"A total of 1,775 people have been evacuated," governor Oleg Synegubov wrote on social media.

He said that there had been Russian artillery and mortar attacks on 30 settlements in Kharkiv over the last 24 hours.

Russia's attack on Kharkiv ups pressure on Kyiv

Kyiv sent reinforcements as fighting erupted at the border on Friday, the defense ministry said.

"Russia has begun a new wave of counteroffensive actions in this direction," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told a news conference in Kyiv. "Now there is a fierce battle in this direction."

The Kharkiv front in Ukraine's northeast had been comparatively calm and motionless for months, albeit with both sides frequently launching aerial attacks — often at the major cities of Kharkiv and Belgorod either side of the border.

Ukrainian rescuers work to extinguish a fire at the site of an overnight missile strike on private buildings in Kharkiv
At least two civilians were killed in Friday's attackImage: SERGEY KOZLOV/EPA

At least two civilians were killed and five were injured during heavy shelling at the border settlements, governor Synehubov said. But he also sought to downplay the attempted attack's effectiveness.

"All the enemy can do is to attack in certain small groups, you can call them sabotage and reconnaissance groups or something else, and test the positions of our military," he said.

Ukraine had warned of a Russian buildup in the area, potentially signaling preparations for an offensive but had also said it was not sure if Moscow would go through with an attack. 

While the Ukrainian military was prepared for Friday's attack, Zelenskyy said he worried Russia could send more reinforcements.

The commander of Ukraine's ground forces predicted that the more than 2-year-old war against Russia would enter a critical phase in the next two months as Moscow attempts to exploit the time before military aid reaches Ukraine.

"Russia knows that if we receive enough weapons within a month or two, the situation could turn against them," General Oleskander Pavliuk told The Economist magazine in an interview. 

Kyiv: Russia setting its sights on Ukraine's northeast

mk/msh (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)