Putin Says Russia Is Creating 'Buffer Zone'

He claims Moscow doesn't plan to capture Kharkiv
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 17, 2024 6:43 AM CDT
Putin Claims Russia Has No Plans to Capture Kharkiv
This image released by Maxar Technologies shows a damaged plane, likely a MiG 31 fighter aircraft, at Belbek air base, near Sevastopol, in Crimea, Thursday, May 16, 2024.   (Satellite image ?2024 Maxar Technologies via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Moscow's offensive in Ukraine's Kharkiv region aims to create a buffer zone but Russia has no plans to capture the city, for now. Speaking to reporters Friday on a visit to Harbin, China, Putin said that Moscow launched attacks in the Kharkiv region in response to the Ukrainian shelling of Russia's Belgorod region, the AP reports. "I have said publicly that if it continues we will be forced to create a security zone, a sanitary zone," he said. Putin said that Russian troops were "advancing daily in according to plan."

Earlier Friday, Russian authorities said a massive Ukrainian drone attack on Crimea caused power cutoffs in the city of Sevastopol while damaging aircraft and fuel storage at an airbase. Another attack set a refinery ablaze in the country's south. The drone raids marked Kyiv's attempt to strike back during Moscow's offensive in northeastern Ukraine, which has added to the pressure on outnumbered and outgunned Ukrainian forces who are waiting for delayed deliveries of crucial weapons and ammunition from Western partners.

On Thursday, military officials in Kyiv said Ukrainian units locked in street battles with the Kremlin's forces in a key northeastern Ukraine town have halted the Russian advance, though a senior Moscow official said the frontline push had enough resources to keep going, the AP reports. Russian attempts to establish a foothold in the town of Vovchansk, which is among the largest towns in the region with a prewar population of 17,000, "have been foiled," officials said. Ukrainian authorities have evacuated some 8,000 civilians from the town. The Russian army's usual tactic is to reduce towns and villages to ruins with aerial strikes before its units move in.

(More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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