According to the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Russian President Vladimir Putin may have ordered Russian forces to seize Kharkiv. Also the rest of the unoccupied Kharkiv region despite the extreme improbability of success.
However, ISW stated in its daily report that the observation was presented as a hypothesis rather than an assessment based on “limited and circumstantial” indicators.
In recent weeks, Russian forces attempted to take the town of Dementiivka, located to the north of Kharkiv. Despite its limited importance in defending Russian territory.
Furthermore, Ukrainian intelligence released an intercepted conversation on Saturday. Russian soldier stated that his commander is unconcerned about his losses and only wants to get to Kharkiv.
According to a previous IOW report, Russian-backed authorities in occupied parts of the Kharkiv region have declared the region to be a “inalienable part of Russian land.”
The fight for survival in Kharkiv
Pro-Moscow officials unveiled a new flag for the occupation regime, which features the Russian imperial double-headed eagle as well as symbols from the 18th century Kharkiv coat of arms.
The occupied administration has also signed a mutual defense treaty with separatists in Luhansk. Indicating that it has no intention of leaving. According to administration statements, it aims to control areas of the region currently under Ukrainian control.
Even as fighting raged in the neighboring Luhansk and Donetsk regions in 2014, there were fears that Kharkiv would be next.
Kharkiv was heavily bombed and the site of some of the bloodiest fighting of the war until Russian troops withdrew from the area as Moscow focused on its war in Donbas.
In recent days, Russian Forces bombarded quickly and heavily around Kharkiv.
According to the report, Russian forces will likely intensify ground assaults north of Kharkiv in the coming days “but are unlikely to secure significant territorial gains.”
On Sunday, July 17, here are the other major headlines from Ukraine’s war.
According to the UK Ministry of Defence, Russia is strengthening its defensive positions across the occupied areas of Ukraine’s south. Ostensibly in response to recent attacks and potential future ones as Kyiv’s forces seek to reclaim lost territory.
Moscow has been relocating troops, equipment, and defensive supplies between Mariupol and Zaporizhia, as well as in Kherson.
“Russian defensive moves are likely in response to anticipated Ukrainian offensives, demands made by Defence Minister Shoygu. During a recent visit to the Donbas, and attacks launched by Ukraine against command posts, logistic nodes, and troop concentrations,” according to the report.
“Given the strains on Russian manpower, the reinforcement of the South while the fight for the Donbass continues likely reflects the seriousness with which Russian commanders regard the threat.”