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You are here News International The Russians simply walked in, Ukrainian troops in Kharkiv tell BBC

The Russians simply walked in, Ukrainian troops in Kharkiv tell BBC

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Ukranian Commander of Reconnaissance Unit

As the Commander of a Ukrainian Special Reconnaissance Unit, he fought in Ukraine’s surprise offensive in Kharkiv in the autumn of 2022, which pushed back an initial Russian invasion all the way back to the border.

But now Denys and his men are facing the prospect of doing the same all over again.

Russian forces have, in recent days, made small but significant gains right along the border in the Kharkiv region.

Their advances are only a few miles deep but have swallowed up around 100km (62 miles) of Ukrainian territory. In the more heavily defended east of Ukraine, it’s taken Russia months to achieve the same.

Russia claims its forces have now entered the border town of Vovchansk, which Ukraine disputes.

The town has come under heavy bombing in recent days, and several thousand residents have been evacuated.

Denys wants to know what happened to Ukraine’s defences.

“There was no first line of defence. We saw it. The Russians just walked in. They just walked in, without any mined fields” he says.

He shows me video from a drone feed taken a few days ago of small columns of Russian troops simply walking across the border, unopposed.

He says officials had claimed that defences were being built at huge cost, but in his view, those defences simply weren’t there. “Either it was an act of negligence, or corruption. It wasn’t a failure. It was a betrayal”.

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