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Thousands of Russian soldiers near Kharkiv

Thousands of Russian soldiers near Kharkiv

Ukrainian intelligence was the first to learn of information about Russian forces, when the head of Ukraine’s defense intelligence, Maj. Gen. Kirillo Budanov, was questioned by CNN on Friday:.

“Russian forces are regrouping in eastern Ukraine, and are planning to advance towards the city of Kharkiv,” Budanov said.

Russian forces regrouped near the city of Izyum in Ukraine, arriving via Belgorod in Russia, according to Ukrainian intelligence.

Civilians: This photo was taken on April 8 in Kharkiv, with a woman passing by a bomb crater. There are still many civilians in the area. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters/NTP

Thousands of Russian soldiers

According to a senior official of the US Department of Defense, a number of Russian soldiers have arrived near Kharkiv.

According to Budanov, the Russians will transfer more soldiers to Belgorod after the losses they incurred in Ukraine. From the Russian city, there is a direct road link to Kharkiv, which both Americans and Ukrainians believe Russia will attack first.

American intelligence claims that 40 tactical units are located in the Russian border town of Belgorod, which means that ten new units have been added. This tactical unit usually consists of 600-1,000 soldiers, according to the US official.

Landmines ticking

Kharkiv, with a peacetime population of about 1.5 million, came under heavy attacks even early in the war. Conditions for the civilian population in the area are appalling after several weeks of war. Recently, residents discovered another threat: a new type of ammunition taking off Twenty small land mines which then explode at irregular intervals, the New York Times wrote in a recent report. The city was the target of heavy fire, aircraft alarms were ringing frequently and residents had to hide in shelters.

If we believe the intelligence, this is where the Russians will launch the attack. According to the Americans, there may be 60 thousand soldiers. Ukrainian intelligence says something about why they think so.

Bomb room: a metro station in use as a bomb room in Kharkiv on March 26.  It has been speculated whether Russia wants to divide Ukraine in two - in this case Kharkiv - the former capital of what was the Ukrainian Soviet Republic - an important city to capture.  Especially if Kyiv can not be occupied.  Photo: Felipe Dana/AP/NTB

Bomb room: a metro station in use as a bomb room in Kharkiv on March 26. It has been speculated whether Russia wants to divide Ukraine in two – in this case Kharkiv – the former capital of what was the Ukrainian Soviet Republic – an important city to capture. Especially if Kyiv can not be occupied. Photo: Felipe Dana/AP/NTB

Direct road connection from Russia

In Belgorod, the Russian army will get new soldiers to make up for the losses they incurred in Ukraine, intelligence chief Budanov told CNN. He believes that the plan is to take Kharkiv first, and then complete Mariupol. If the Russian army did not meet enough resistance, it could move from Mariupol to a new offensive against Kyiv. But first they must win in Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine.

The Pentagon official warned that conflicts in the region could be fierce.

– This will be a knife fight. He says this can be very bloody and ugly.

Need more weapons to stop the Russians

Budanov told CNN that the attack had to stop. And to do this, Ukraine needs more weapons now: heavy artillery, anti-aircraft guns, and ground force, so that one can resist the Russian ground forces.

– We don’t need it tomorrow, we need it today, was the clear message from Budanov. M

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