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Ukraine updates: Russia making 'tactical' gains in Kharkiv

Published May 13, 2024last updated May 13, 2024

According to the Ukrainian military, Russia is "achieving tactical success" in the northeastern Kharkiv region. Meanwhile, Moscow officials said 15 people have been killed in an attack on Belgorod. DW has the latest.

A residential building damaged during recent shelling on the outskirts of Volchansk, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, 11 May 2024
Russian troops launched an armored ground attack in northeastern Ukraine on May 10Image: GEORGE IVANCHENKO/EPA
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

The Ukrainian General Staff said on Monday that fighting was intensifying around the city of Vovchansk, in Ukraine's northeastern region of Kharkiv near the Russian border. 

Russian forces launched a renewed offensive on the region since last week, raising fears of a large-scale assault on Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city.

In Russia, the regional governor of the border region of Belgorod put the death toll from a Sunday attack at 15, accusing Ukraine of targeting a residential building. 

Here's a look at the latest developments in Russia's war in Ukraine on Monday, May 13. This blog has been closed.

Skip next section US doing 'everything humanly possible' to get arms to Ukraine
May 13, 2024

US doing 'everything humanly possible' to get arms to Ukraine

The White House said on Monday that it is doing everything possible to rush military aid into Ukraine.

"We're doing everything humanly possible, both ourselves and our allies," US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters.

Last month, Congress authorized $61 billion (€56.5 billion) worth of various forms of aid to Ukraine, and some of the arms included in this package are already on the battlefield in Ukraine. 

Sullivan also said a new arms package would be announced "in the coming days." 

He added that the US is also working to supply Ukraine with more Patriot air defense systems.

Skip next section Germany's Scholz calls for more arms for Ukraine
May 13, 2024

Germany's Scholz calls for more arms for Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has called on other European countries to provide additional military aid to Ukraine

At a meeting with Nordic leaders in Sweden, Scholz announced that Germany would send a third patriot air defense system to Ukraine despite having relatively few units in its own arsenal.

"But it was important to do that and we hope that some other European countries can follow," the German chancellor said.

He added that Ukraine needs "a lot of munitions, artillery tanks and air defense, and especially Patriot and the IRIS-T system from Germany, which will be most helpful."

"We will support Ukraine as long as it takes," Scholz said.

Skip next section No threat of ground assault on Kharkiv city, Ukraine says
May 13, 2024

No threat of ground assault on Kharkiv city, Ukraine says

There is no risk of a ground assault on the city of Kharkiv, according to Ukraine's security council chief.

"At the moment, Russian actions in the border area are ongoing," Oleksandr Lytvynenko told the French news agency AFP in an interview.

"We can say that we don't see any threat of assault on the city of Kharkiv," he said.

Russia has launched a new offensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region of Ukraine's taking control of several towns. 

"There are a lot of Russians, quite a lot. About 50,000 were on the border. Now there are much more than 30,000 coming," Lytvynenko said.

He said Russia is probably trying to create a "buffer zone" to limit Ukraine's ability to strike Russia's border regions.

Skip next section Ukraine's foreign minister and first lady visit Serbia
May 13, 2024

Ukraine's foreign minister and first lady visit Serbia

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba paid a surprise visit to Serbia on Monday, accompanied by Ukraine's first lady, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's wife Olena Zelenska.

Kuleba's visit, his first to Serbia since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, has been interpreted as a sign of warming relations between Kyiv and Belgrade, a traditional Slavic ally of Moscow.

Although Serbia has condemned Russia's aggression against Ukraine, it has proclaimed neutrality in the conflict and refused to join international sanctions against Moscow or officially provide arms to Ukraine – although there are reports of Serbia delivering weapons via intermediaries.

New Serbian Prime Minister Milos Vucevic's government includes several pro-Russian ministers, including two who have been under US sanctions. Pro-Russian President Aleksandar Vucic has informally met President Zelenskyy three times on the sidelines of international conferences, and Serbia has supplied Ukraine with humanitarian and financial aid.

A statement issued by Prime Minister Vucevic's office said that "Serbia is committed to respecting international law and the territorial integrity of every member state of the United Nations – including Ukraine."

The visit by Kuleba and Zelenska was met with criticism in Moscow, with Russian news agency RIA Novosti reporting comments by readers in Russian state-run media such as "shameful."

Skip next section Russia planning to 'scale up' war — Podolyak
May 13, 2024

Russia planning to 'scale up' war — Podolyak

Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said Russia is looking to intensify efforts toward acheiving its war aims in Ukraine.

"Russia is finally isolating itself and will try to scale up the war, expand its formats while reconfiguring the economy," Podolyak said in a post on Telegram.

The comments come after Russian President Vladimir Putin nominated civilian economist Andrei Belousov as Defense Minister, replacing Sergei Shoigu, who has been moved to the National Security Council.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov cited the need to align defense spending with Russia's overall interests as the reason for the reshuffle.

Russia's Defense Ministry claims its forces have made steady battlefield gains in recent days, having captured several villages in the Kharkiv region. The region has largely been held by Kyiv after Russian forces were pushed back in October 2022, while the neighboring Luhansk region is mostly under Moscow's control.

Also on Monday, Ukraine's General Staff said that Russia was acheiving "tactical successes" in the Kharkiv region.

Skip next section Report: Ukraine replaces Kharkiv military commander
May 13, 2024

Report: Ukraine replaces Kharkiv military commander

Ukraine has replaced the military commander responsible for the Kharkiv frontline, according to a report by the RBC Ukraine news agency.

The report, which cited a military command, said Brigadier General Mykhailo Drapatyi has been appointed to the position. 

The reasons behind the move were not immediately clear. 

Skip next section Russia says 15 killed in attack on Belgorod
May 13, 2024

Russia says 15 killed in attack on Belgorod

At least 15 people were killed and 27 injured in an attack on a residential building in Russia's Belgorod, said regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov.

Russia accused Ukraine of launching the attack on the Russian border region on Sunday. 

However, some observers have questioned the narrative around this particular attack. They said that the Ukrainian Tochka U missiles which Moscow says were used in the attack lead to a different kind of damage than those seen on videos and images from Sunday. 

DW could not verify the claims. 

Skip next section Putin's pick for defense minister calls for better care for soldiers
May 13, 2024

Putin's pick for defense minister calls for better care for soldiers

Andrei Belousov, who President Vladimir Putin chose as Russia's new defense minister, said soldiers needed better access to housing, hospitals and welfare benefits.

Putin named Belousov, an economist and former deputy prime minister, to replace Sergei Shoigu in a surprise move. 

In his first remarks since Putin's announcement, Belousov criticized bureaucracy surrounding the payment of benefits to military personneland said there were issues with housing and medical treatment.

"I think it’s a mess when participants in the special military operation who come back on vacation are driven from civilian medical institutions to hospitals which are often simply overcrowded," Belousov said, using the Kremlin's label for the war. 

Putin reshuffles Defense Ministry amid war in Ukraine

Skip next section Ukraine says Russia making 'tactical successes' in Kharkiv
May 13, 2024

Ukraine says Russia making 'tactical successes' in Kharkiv

The Ukrainian General Staff said that Russian forces were making progress in their offensive in the northeastern region of Kharkiv.

"The enemy is currently achieving tactical success," the Ukrainian General Staff said in a report on social media.

The report said that fighting was under way near the Kharkiv city of Vovchansk, only 5 kilometers from the Russian border.

The Russian Defense Ministry also said its forces improved their tactical positions near the city.

Ukraine is deploying significant forces in the battle for Vovchansk, with up to five battalions bearing down on the city, according to the Ukrainian General Staff report. 

The city had first come under Russian occupation at the beginning of the war, until Ukraine's autumn counteroffensive in the region that pushed out Moscow's forces.

Russia's latest attack on the region started on May 10

Russian gains in Ukraine's northeast force more displacement

fb/rm (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)