Russian troops have extended the front line of active combat operations by almost 70 kilometers in the Kharkiv region to force Ukraine to use additional brigades from the reserves, according to Ukraine’s Armed Forces (AFU) Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrsky.

Due to complications in the situation in eastern Ukraine, Col. Gen. Syrsky has been working for several days in a row with the units directly  engaged in combat operations in Kharkiv region.

The enemy has focused its main efforts on the Strilecha-Liptsi axis in attempts to capture Vovchansk, gain further access to Bilyi Kolodyazh, and launch of an offensive to the rear of Ukrainian troops.

“We understand that there will be heavy fighting ahead and the enemy is preparing for it.”

According to Syrsky, the enemy launched the offensive much earlier than anticipated, when they noticed the redeployment of Ukrainian troops, but failed to break through the defenses.

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Syrsky explained that the AFU must now make the most of their advantage in attack UAVs in combination with the use of electronic warfare and accurate artillery fire.

“My work has been devoted to these issues, as well as to regrouping troops and simplifying the system of comprehensive support,” Syrsky said.

This week, the head of Ukraine's military intelligence service (HUR), Kyrylo Budanov, said the current Russian attacks in the northeast are intended to stretch the already thin reserves of AFU forces and divert them from fighting elsewhere.

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The AFU is now redeploying troops from other parts of the front to bolster their defenses in the northeast but has had difficulty finding enough combat personnel.

In addition, Budanov predicts that Russia will soon launch a new offensive further north of Kharkiv, in Sumy region.

Syrsky toured and inspected all the units preparing for defense in the Sumy sector.

“I thank everyone in the Defense Forces, Kharkiv citizens individually and all our citizens in general for their courage and resilience,” said Syrsky. “We will defeat the enemy! We believe in and will bring victory closer! Glory to Ukraine!”

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