Kharkhiv War Maps Reveal ‘Significant’ Russian Advances

Russian troops made “tactically significant gains” when they launched an offensive targeting Ukraine’s Kharkiv Oblast on Friday, according to the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington D.C.-based think tank.

Maps produced by the ISW showed Russian forces attacking across the border at two points during which they captured the villages of Strilecha, Krasne, Pylna and Borysivka according to Ukraine’s Ukrainska Pravda newspaper. Kharkiv, situated around 20 miles from the Russian border, is Ukraine’s second-biggest city and has been under heavy missile and airstrike bombardment for months.

Russian forces have been attempting to advance further into Ukraine with a focus on the eastern Donbas region, which President Vladimir Putin formally annexed to Russia in September 2022. Ukraine received a big boost in April when Congress passed a bill providing an additional $60.84 billion to Kyiv following months of deadlock in the House of Representatives.

In its Friday update, the ISW said: “Russian forces began an offensive operation along the Russian-Ukrainian border in northern Kharkiv Oblast on the morning of May 10 and made tactically significant gains.”

Ukrainian soldiers
Ukraine’s 37th separate brigade of marines performing a combat mission in support of the infantry on the left bank of the Dnipro. On Friday, Russian troops launched a two-pronged attack into Ukraine’s Kharkiv Oblast in…

Kostiantyn Liberov/Libkos/GETTY

“Russian forces are likely conducting the initial phase of an offensive operation north of Kharkiv City that has limited operational objectives but is meant to achieve the strategic effect of drawing Ukrainian manpower and material from other critical sectors of the front in eastern Ukraine.”

The ISW map showed Russian troops making two thrusts into Kharkiv Oblast, “one north of Kharkiv City in the direction of Lyptsi and one northeast of Kharkiv City near Vovchansk.”

Kharkhiv battle map
An Institute for the Study of War map showing Russian troops launched two offensives from Belgorod Oblast into Kharkiv Oblast on Friday. Red areas on the map are under Russian control whilst circled regions saw…

Institute for the Study of War

According to the ISW, Russian military sources also claimed to have seized the settlements of Zelene, Ohirtseve, and Hatyshche, but this has not been independently verified.

The think tank wrote: “ISW assesses that Russian forces have advanced in the direction of Vovchansk but has not observed enough evidence to assess an approximate frontline trace in the immediate area. Ukrainian sources reported that fighting continued near Krasne, Morokhovets (northeast of Lyptsi), Oliinykove (northeast of Lyptsi), and Hatyshche later in the afternoon.”

In a statement, the Russian Ministry of Defense said it had “liberated” the settlements of Borisovka, Ogurtsovo, Pletenevka, Pylnaya and Strelechya on Friday in the Kharkiv region. During the fighting, Russia claimed Ukraine suffered 300 casualties, though this has not been independently verified.

Newsweek has contacted the Ukrainian and Russian ministries of defense for comment by email.

Ukraine map
Russia seized significant chunks of Ukrainian territory when President Putin ordered an all out invasion in February 2022. Crimea was annexed to Russia after being seized in 2014 and parts of Donbas were under the…

Institute for the Study of War

The ISW argued the new Russian operation aimed to push Ukrainian forces away from the border and to bring Kharkiv within artillery range.

It said: “Russian forces will likely leverage their tactical foothold in northern Kharkiv Oblast in the coming days to intensify offensive operations and pursue the initial phase of an offensive effort likely intended to push back Ukrainian forces from the border with Belgorod Oblast and advance to within tube artillery range of Kharkiv City.

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Russian forces have started ‘a new wave of offensive actions’ in the Kharkiv direction, and Ukrainian officials have been warning about a Russian offensive effort in the direction of Kharkiv City in recent months.”

In March, troops from a number of anti-Putin Russian paramilitary groups fighting on the side of Ukraine carried out a series of cross-border raids into Russia’s Belgorod Oblast in an embarrassment for the Kremlin.