Russia is preparing for a new large-scale offensive in the Kharkiv region, 

Russia has launched massive mortar, artillery, and missile strikes on the Kharkiv region in recent weeks. The targets of these concentrated attacks included not only civilian buildings but also military objects, indicating Russia's preparation for a counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region.

Citing a Ukrainian intelligence source, the Daily Telegraph reported that the Kremlin may be planning to escalate air attacks as early as this weekend to coincide with Russian Christmas on Jan. 7.

This would be in advance of a ground offensive that could follow shortly thereafter, with a potential start date of Jan.15 being considered.

Russia has concentrated its forces and is attempting to advance towards Kreminna and Lyman, which came under Ukrainian control following its successful counteroffensive in September 2022.

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On Thursday, the Ukrainian General Staff reported that the Armed Forces repelled three Russian attacks in the direction of Kupyansk. It was noted that there were no indications of Russian army offensive actions in the Lyman direction.

However, the commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces, Oleksandr Syrsky, has warned that Russia is inflicting planned strikes during its repositioning in preparation for the impending assault on Lyman. Russia has redirected more armored vehicles and artillery to attempt an offensive with infantry groups, typically composed of the so-called "Storm Z" units.

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Initially, these units were formed from former imprisoned security personnel, but since spring 2023, these forces have effectively transformed into punitive battalions composed of convicts and military personnel under disciplinary penalties.

As reported by Telegraph journalists, Ukraine has spent months preparing for the anticipated offensive in the direction of Kupyansk, where only 26,000 local residents remain.  The city that could become an important logistical foothold for a Russian offensive to the south or west if occupied by the Kremlin.

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During a briefing on Friday, Oleh Sinegubov, the head of Kharkiv Region Military Administration, stated that there are currently no signs of enemy troop concentrations in the region, and the border situation remains unchanged.

"To discuss the enemy's plans for any offensive, they must concentrate units in one direction or another. There is no such concentration now," Sinegubov stressed.

He also mentioned that there are no clear reasons to anticipate a Russian Armed Forces offensive in the near future. Still, he cautioned that the situation is dynamic and can change rapidly.

Since the beginning of the year, the shelling of Kharkiv and nearby cities has significantly increased. Currently, Russia is increasingly attacking the Kharkiv region with S-300 missiles. Telegraph journalists claim that Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense units stationed in the Kharkiv region are nearly ineffective against S-300 attacks.

Surface-to-air missiles have been reprogrammed for ground strikes, and due to the speed at which the projectiles travel over short distances, they are almost impossible to intercept, as reported by Telegraph.

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