Ukraine’s Kharkiv Commander Gets Replaced as Russian Forces Advance

A Ukrainian soldier said that Russian forces were able to walk into Kharkiv

Ukrainian media reported on Monday that the Ukrainian general responsible for the northeastern Kharkiv oblast was fired on May 11, one day after Russian forces launched a new offensive in the region that has had significant success.

Gen. Yuriy Halushkin was replaced by Gen. Mykhaylo Drapatiy, and the news came as Ukrainian troops were speaking out about the lack of defenses in Kharkiv.

“There was no first line of defense. We saw it. The Russians just walked in. They just walked in, without any mined field,” said Denys Yaroslavskyi, a commander of a Ukrainian Special Reconnaissance Unit.

“Either it was an act of negligence, or corruption. It wasn’t a failure. It was a betrayal,” he said. In a Facebook post, Yaroslavskyi said he was speaking out because “we could die and no one will hear the truth.”

According to BBC, everybody knew that Russia was likely planning an incursion in the region as Ukrainian and Western intelligence showed that Russia was building a force on the other side of the border, with estimates that 30,000 troops were amassed.

Military situation in Ukraine on May 13, 2024 (

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that its forces captured nine villages in Kharkiv since Friday. On Monday, Russia said its troops entered Vovchansk, the largest village in the area, which is only about three miles from the Russian border.

Ukrainian officials believe the purpose of the Russian offensive is to stretch Ukraine’s defensive lines, which were already at risk of collapsing. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, told The New York Times that the Ukrainian military was facing a “critical” situation.

“All of our forces are either here or in Chasiv Yar,” Budanov said, referring to a city in Donetsk. “I’ve used everything we have. Unfortunately, we don’t have anyone else in the reserves.”

Russia’s offensive has come with a heavy bombardment, and nearly 6,000 civilians have fled the area, according to Kharkiv Governor Oleg Synegubov. He said on Monday that Russian strikes had hit more than 30 towns and villages in the past day, wounding nine people.

Ukraine has kept up its shelling of the neighboring Belgorod oblast in Russia, where Ukrainian strikes killed 11 civilians on Sunday.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.