UK warned Ukraine of Russian offensive on Kharkiv — report

Ukrainian troops in Kharkiv Oblast
Ukrainian troops in Kharkiv Oblast

UK Defense Intelligence warned Ukrainian leadership about Russia’s plans to launch an offensive in Kharkiv Oblast, The Guardian reported on May 16, citing its own sources.

According to the newspaper, Ukraine's defensive lines in the region were "thin to absent." When between 5,000 to 10,000 Russian forces crossed the border at two key points, the attack could not be repelled quickly, the report said.

“Russia’s attack across the border north and north-west of Kharkiv was telegraphed by Moscow, predicted by western intelligence, and anticipated by Ukraine,” the article said.

“The fact that Russian forces have been able to advance about four miles at multiple points in five days raises serious questions about Kyiv’s ability to defend itself."

The journalists add that by May 16, the fighting had reached Vovchansk and villages north of Lyptsi. Moscow’s objective is most likely to put Kharkiv City in the range of its barreled 152mm artillery—about 24 kilometers.

Read also: Situation in Kharkiv Oblast remains ‘critical’ – military expert

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