As Russia assaults Kharkiv, Vovchansk is under fire ‘town is being pounded by everything’
    14 May 2024

    As Russia assaults Kharkiv, Vovchansk is under fire ‘town is being pounded by everything’

    On the morning of May 10, the occupiers attempted to break through the defensive line in the northern part of Kharkiv Oblast, near the Russian border.

    On the morning of May 10, the occupiers attempted to break through the defensive line in the northern part of Kharkiv Oblast, near the Russian border. Throughout the day, Russian forces shelled border settlements with guided aviation bombs and attacked our positions with MLRS and artillery. The occupiers also attempted to break through with armored vehicles. Russian reconnaissance and sabotage groups unsuccessfully tried to cross the border. Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced a new wave of counteroffensive actions against the Russians. The Ukrainian army deployed reserve units to the front line. Battles are ongoing. Analysts from deepstatemap report that Russian forces are storming near Pletenivka village and along the Strilecha-Borysivka line.

    The situation in Vovchansk, located 10 kilometers from Russia, and its outskirts is critical. Shelling continues unabated. Two men have died in the community. Most of the town is in ruins. Volunteers, municipal services, and local authorities are continuously providing humanitarian and medical assistance to people.

    People are urgently being evacuated from the region: as of now, 1775 people have been evacuated. The evacuation from the town, which has suffered the most in the recent days of the war, was documented by the documentary photographer George Ivanchenko. He sent us this dispatch:

    “On the way to Vovchansk, above the forests, there is gray smoke from fires. Emergency services say that mines are exploding in those woods due to heating. The road is so eerily quiet—as if there’s nobody around. Most likely, there is simply no one left. Like in Lyman, where a 69-year-old lady named Lidiia lives on the edge of the village between two houses: one burned down completely a week ago, the other is still smoldering after today’s attack.

    People are also leaving Vovchansk every day. The town is being pounded by everything: MLRS, Grad rockets. Drones fly, sometimes it’s unclear whether they are ours or Russian’s. 

    In the town, we see a two-story building with three entrances that was just extinguished. Nearby—a crater from an air bomb. In the yard, Mrs. Tetyana looks at her destroyed balcony—she was the only one left living in the house. She miraculously survived—she was in the apartment when the attack happened.

    However, there are still plenty of people in the surrounding houses. The elderly still don’t want to leave. It’s as if they understand that a Russian advance is possible, but they don’t fully believe it. They say they need a few more days to gauge the seriousness of the situation. They want to board up the windows before leaving to prevent looting. Overall, people’s mood echoes that of Kharkiv municipal workers: the shelling just ended, and they’re already sweeping, bustling, rebuilding. It looks very strange. Because, unfortunately, the intensity of the shelling reminded me of Bakhmut in January 2023. I’m afraid if its intensity doesn’t decrease—the town will soon resemble Bakhmut.”

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