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Russia aiming to build buffer zone near Kharkiv: ISW


Washington, May 14
Russian forces advancing near Ukraine's north-eastern city of Kharkiv will likely limit their push to the rapid creation of a buffer zone between the two countries, according to US military experts.

That goal is apparently being prioritised over a deeper offensive into the Kharkiv region, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote in its latest report on Monday.

Geolocated footage published on May 13 shows that Russian forces that crossed the border last week had entered Hlyboke, some 30 kilometres north of Kharkiv, and raised a flag in the centre of the village.

Further images showed that Russian troops had advanced southwest of the village of Oliynykove. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian troops had achieved some success near Lukyantsi, also just to the east of Hlyboke.

Russia launched an offensive into the Kharkiv region on May 10, after which the Defence Ministry reported the capture of several villages.

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the military is doing everything in its power to prevent Russia from expanding the front and has launched counterattacks.

"The area has been reinforced," Zelensky said in his evening video message on Monday.

Russian forces that invaded Ukraine in February 2022 initially took large areas of the Kharkiv region but not the city itself before being driven back by a Ukrainian counter-offensive that autumn.

Kharkiv is Ukraine's second-largest city, with a pre-war population of 1.4 million people.