Russia launched an offensive against the border region of Kharkiv in north eastern Ukraine on Friday night. Around 4,000 people were evacuated. Kyiv suspects this is a diversionary manoeuvre aimed at drawing Ukrainian troops away from the front in areas further to the east. The media discuss what the attacks mean.

The city is safe for now

Journalist Yuri Butusov analyses the situation on the front in NV:

“The enemy is mobilising its reserves and deploying significant infantry forces, armoured vehicles and a large number of drones. ... The situation is difficult, the enemy has the tactical initiative. But our front is being strengthened. ... There is no danger of an offensive on Kharkiv at the moment - the enemy is far enough away, its forces are limited and there is no quick advance. Whether the Russians will advance further depends on the losses that are inflicted on them in this border battle.”


A crucial moment for Ukraine

Morale among the Ukrainian troops will be pivotal, political analyst Armand Gosu writes in Contributors:

“The decisive factor in the coming months will be less the amount of ammunition or the number of anti-aircraft missiles than Ukraine's ability to mobilise and train enough troops capable of fighting. ... The people haven't had any good news for months, and are beginning to lose hope. The six-month delay in US aid has brought morale down to an all-time low at this critical time when the major Russian offensive has begun.”

Video Captures Moment of Airstrike on Kharkiv Hypermarket
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Video Captures Moment of Airstrike on Kharkiv Hypermarket

The target was the Epicenter construction hypermarket, which had over 200 people inside at the time.

Occupied areas as a bargaining chip

By occupying further areas in the north of Ukraine, the Kremlin wants to strengthen its negotiating position, analyses Glavkom:

“It's clear that the influential participants of the peace conference in Switzerland will have unofficial contacts with the Kremlin after the conference. This means that they will continue to explore and negotiate. That is why the Kremlin wants to conquer as much land as possible - including strategically important cities - so that it has something to bargain with. Furthermore, in the event of a ceasefire (not peace!), a zone of troop disengagement will be necessary. And the Kremlin is now trying to ensure that this zone lies entirely on Ukrainian territory.”


Paying the price for the endless debates

For the taz Kyiv's hesitant partners are partly to blame:

“Timely deliveries of defence weapons in sufficient quantities would have enabled Ukraine to protect all major cities, not just Kyiv. While Trump's puppets in the US blocked military aid for Ukraine for months, the Europeans wasted precious time with endless debates about whether Ukraine should be allowed to destroy the launch sites of Russian attacks. No matter what Putin does, someone in Berlin always starts warning about an imminent escalation as soon as anyone tries to stop the real escalation. But you can't advertise 'peace' in the European election campaign and at the same time accept Russia's war. Europe's future is being decided now. In Ukraine.”

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