Russia Is Massing 100,000 Troops for Offensive, Ukraine Says

Ukrainian servicemen (Reuters)
July 18, 2023

Ukraine said Tuesday that Russia has amassed 100,000 troops in a push to advance through Ukrainian defenses in the Kharkiv region in the country's northeast.

Serhiy Cherevatyi, spokesman for Ukraine’s Army Command East, said Russia has around 900 tanks and 555 artillery systems accompanying the troops. The Russian Army is attacking the region while Ukrainian forces focus on the southern front in their ongoing counteroffensive. The Russian forces have reportedly been unsuccessful in breaking through thus far.

"They are concentrating everything in order to break through our defense," Cherevatyi said. "Our soldiers are firmly on the defensive. They do not allow the enemy to seize the initiative."

The goal of the Russians, according to Hanna Maliar, Ukrainian deputy defense minister, is to recover lost territory and force Ukraine to "transfer reserves there from other directions."

Russia is attempting to divert Ukrainian attention to regain territory, Politico reported:

Russia has also recently reinforced its positions around Bakhmut with additional forces ... and Moscow is seeking to break through in the Kharkiv region as President Vladimir Putin wants a big win.

Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar supported that view, saying: "As soon as we seize the operational initiative and begin to advance, the enemy immediately activates in additional directions to distract and draw our forces there."

The development comes a day after a Russian bridge in Crimea was crippled in a blast and Russia responded by pulling out of a U.N.-brokered agreement which allowed Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea.

Published under: Russia , Ukraine