North group of Russian forces to target Kharkiv as part of major offensive

Russia not going to limit special operation to easternmost regions of former Ukraine

Russian military social media began to promote the Sever (North) group of troops of the Russian Armed Forces. The group is known for its tactical sign N and its goal is an offensive on Kharkiv.

North military grouping created for Kharkiv operation

The creation of the group of troops North (N) means that the Russian forces are preparing personnel in the Belgorod region for an offensive on Kharkiv. Ukrainian sources say that the Russian Army does not need to capture Kharkiv, but this is not true to fact. Taking the city will let the Russian forces ensure the collapse of the entire eastern front of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In addition, keeping Kharkiv under control will ensure security for the Belgorod region of Russia that Ukraine has been shelling regularly. The Russian authorities can no longer ignore civilian casualties.

There are other signs that indicate preparations for an offensive:

  • The Russian forces have been striking targets in Kharkiv intensively. A lot of glide bombs were dropped around the Kupyansk area on April 23. The Militarist Telegram channel said that Kupyansk did not see such bombings for weeks.
  • The Kharkiv television tower with a relay antenna that was used in the interests of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was destroyed.
  • The Russian forces have been consistently cutting off the Kharkiv region from the general energy circuit of Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian authorities, as much as 80 percent of all networks in Kharkiv — both thermal and electrical — have been destroyed. The gas supply system of the Shevchenko region was struck on April 24.

There above attacks indicate that both industrial enterprises and repair shops in Kharkiv stopped working, whereas the work of control and logistics centres was complicated.

Senior Ukrainian government officials told Bloomberg that Moscow's goal is to evacuate the city completely. It appears that both businesses and civilians will be leaving Kharkiv faster and faster.

Moscow keeps up the intrigue

The Russian military leadership maintains intrigue about the direction of the main attack and its timing. Will the strike be delivered from the east — from Kupyansk and Kremennaya — or from the north — from the direction of the border? Will it come from two directions at a time?

The Russian Aerospace Forces alternately bombard Kupyansk and areas adjacent to the Belgorod region, forcing the Armed Forces of Ukraine to constantly move units and formations between them. This makes it easier to detect and attack Ukrainian troops.

Russia will strike when the Armed Forces of Ukraine transfer significant forces from the Kharkiv direction to suppress the Russian units that advance from the direction of Avdiivka. The Toretsk group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Vuhledar, Kurakhovo are now under threat there.

According to "Actually in Kharkiv” Telegram channel, the Russian forces will open a new operational direction, which will force the Armed Forces of Ukraine to expend its reserves even further.”

"The breakthrough will come later, when the front crumbles. This is evidenced by the fact that Russia does not destroy major logistics hubs deliberately, for example, Bogodukhovsky and Lozovsky (west of Kharkiv. — Ed.), although the Russian forces can obviously do that. This suggests that the special military operation will not be limited to easternmost regions of the former Ukraine,” the authors of the channel wrote.

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Author`s name Lyuba Lulko
Editor Dmitry Sudakov