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Russia opens up third front in surprise ambush as Ukraine army on its knees

Russia has deployed surprise “sabotage and reconnaissance raids” in the Ukrainian northern border regions of Sumy and Chernihiv Oblasts. Moscow has also increased its cross-border shelling of the two regions.

The attacks come just days after Russia also launched an offensive in Kharkiv Oblast, as they try to seize Ukraine’s second-biggest city.

This means that Russia has potentially opened two new fronts in its war with Ukraine in just a matter of days, after concentrating on the eastern front in the Donbas for months.

The two new fronts in the war could stretch Ukraine’s already depleted military, which has struggled to recruit soldiers and is running out of weapons. While Western allies like the US and UK have promised billions in military aid, its arrival has been slow.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed the sabotage attacks in Sumy and Chernihiv. The scale of the attacks have forced several villages in Sumy to evacuate civilians. He said that Russia’s plan is “to divert our forces”

In his evening address on Monday, President Zelensky said: “Of course, we do not leave the Donetsk front without the necessary support and supplies, namely the Kramatorsk and Pokrovsk fronts.

“We also observe hostile activity against Sumy and Chernihiv oblasts – sabotage and reconnaissance groups and shelling. We are responding with fire, as we should. Our task is crystal clear – to thwart Russia’s attempt to expand the war. The fulfilment of this task depends literally on everyone who is on the ground – from Chernihiv to Vovchansk, from Kharkiv to Donetsk.”

Andrii Demchenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian Border Guard Service, said that the Russian military leadership has concentrated up to three battalion tactical groups of the Russian army near Chernihiv and Sumy regions.

When Russia first launched its invasion in February 2022, the military had planned to rapidly seize Sumy and Chernihiv before advancing directly on Kyiv. There are fears that Russia could exploit the stretched frontline to attempt another move on Kyiv.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin’s forces have continued their advance in the Kharkiv region and claimed to have captured the town of Buhruvatka.

The advances in Kharkiv mark Russia’s biggest breakthrough since the early days of the war.

The Kremlin also announced that President Putin will visit China on May 16 – 17 as Russia tries to shore up its alliance with Beijing.

On Tuesday, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken made an unannounced visit to Kyiv. The trip is designed to reassure Ukraine that it has American support as it struggles to defend itself against increasingly intense Russian attacks.


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