Published On: Thu, Apr 11th, 2024

Putin poised to seize Ukraine’s second-largest city as Russia prepares for major offensive | World | News


Vladimir Putin is reportedly preparing for a major offensive to seize Ukraine‘s second-largest city.

Kharkiv is located in northeast Ukraine and is just 25 miles from the Russian border.

Since the start of the invasion in February 2022, the city has been continually targeted by the Russians and subjected to heavy bombardments.

The Kremlin has stepped up its missile strikes on the city and its environs in recent weeks, forcing the Ukrainian military to reallocate its dwindling air defence assets to Kharkiv.

The city has significant symbolic meaning for both the Russians and the Ukrainians and its capture would represent a major strategic and morale blow for Kyiv.

President Zelensky told the German newspaper Bild that he believes Putin is preparing a major offensive against the city in the summer.

“Putin of course wants to take Kharkiv because it is a big symbol for him,” he said.

“Kharkiv is one of the capitals of Ukraine, so it has great symbolic meaning. But we are doing everything we can to prevent that from happening.”

Analysts for the Institute for the Study of War believe an imminent Russian assault on Kharkiv is unlikely, but have not ruled out an attack in the summer.

In their daily war bulletin, they wrote: “A Russian ground operation against Kharkiv in the very near future is unlikely, but Russian efforts to create strategic reserves and reposition forces in the theatre could allow Russian forces to launch an offensive toward the city in the summer.”

The Ukrainian President has pleaded with Western allies for more air defence systems and reportedly asked for another 25 Patriot missile launchers.

Putin’s army has been able to exploit Ukraine‘s degraded air defence umbrella to target more effectively the country’s energy grid.

Zelensky admitted the Russians had achieved notable successes, saying the attacks on the energy infrastructure had caused “great pain” to the population.

Some Western politicians have argued for a peace deal to be negotiated with Moscow that would cede territory to Putin.

However, Zelensky is adamant that the Russian tyrant will settle for nothing less than total control of Ukraine.

“Putin only understands power,” he said. “He feels like an animal. If you can’t defend yourself, he will destroy even more.”

He added: “His wish is to take over the entire Ukraine.”



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