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Ukraine's Military Leadership Already Pointing Fingers Over Kharkov

© Photo : Office of the President of UkraineHandout photograph taken and released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service on November 30, 2023 shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Colonel General Oleksandr Syrsky visiting a command post in Kupyansk, Kharkov region.
Handout photograph taken and released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service on November 30, 2023 shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Colonel General Oleksandr Syrsky visiting a command post in Kupyansk, Kharkov region. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.05.2024
With major Russian advances in the Kharkov region over the weekend and continuing on Monday, Kiev’s military leadership is already assigning blame for Ukraine’s defensive failures in the region.
Over the weekend, Russia made significant gains in the Kharkov region, particularly on two fronts: To the south of Belgorod (north of Kharkov) towards Liptsy and to the southeast, towards the city of Volchansk where Russian forces have already entered the outskirts of the city.
The Liptsy area of the front is largely under the protection of normal Ukrainian forces and is under the control of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksandr Syrsky. Meanwhile, the Volchansk region’s defense has been largely left to Ukraine’s special forces, made up of the neo-Nazi Ultranationalist brigades like the so-called Russia Volunteer Corps* and the Banderite “special forces” group Kraken.
Those groups are under the command of the Main Directorate of Intelligence (GRU) head Kyrylo Budanov and are outside the normal military hierarchy.
As the situation began to deteriorate for Ukraine’s defenses in the region, Budanov immediately began to place the blame on Syrsky’s troops in the region, according to some reports.

“Kyrylo 'I like the dark' Budanov immediately rushed to Kharkov this weekend and started blame-storming, blaming that his troops running away from Russian advances [and] abandoning their positions is because of Syrsky’s… failures,” international relations expert Mark Sleboda told Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Monday.

So it seems that there's already a bit of trying to place blame and responsibility on everyone else at this point in time,” he added later.
There have been several reports of Budanov blaming Syrsky in Telegram channels but that could not be independently confirmed by Sputnik. There has been plenty of other blame to go around in Ukraine. On Monday, Kiev announced that it was sacking the commander in charge of the Volchansk region.
Russian servicemen fire a Giatsint-B 152 mm self-propelled howitzer towards Ukrainian positions in the course of Russia's military operation in Ukraine, - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.05.2024
Ukraine Replaces Commander of Kharkov Battlegroup Amid Russian Offensive - Reports
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was forced to admit a “difficult” situation in the region, and a Ukrainian soldier took to social media over the weekend to decry the lack of fortifications in the region.
“The first line of fortifications and mines just didn’t exist,” Denys Yaroslavsky, a unit commander in Ukraine’s 57th brigade wrote. “The enemy freely entered the gray area, across the borderline… We come to the conclusion that this is either insane theft or deliberate sabotage.”
Unconfirmed reports say that the 125th Territory Defense Brigade is being investigated for abandoning their positions in the Volchansk area.
“According to Kiev regime troops, even when the defensive fortification lines are supposed to begin, at kind of a second tier of settlements, they are not capable there. They are nothing formidable… They're just really dirt holes in the ground, and they're not going to stop the Russian forces for a second," Sleboda described.
The difficult situation has forced Ukraine to pull troops from all along the combat line, hoping to stabilize the situation in Kharkov. Ukraine’s forces are already stretched thin, and this will only exacerbate the situation, Sleboda explained. “This will only heighten that situation. In fact, the Kiev regime has already been stripping units, not even sending entire brigades, but stripping units from military brigades all along the contact line, all across Ukraine, and sending them [to Kharkov] and expecting them to form some kind of cohesive whole to hold the line.”
According to the official Telegram channel of Ukraine’s 79th Brigade, they have been receiving less ammunition and support since the Kharkov front opened. It also complained that their commanders were considering sending some of their men in the Kharkov direction, which they believed would make their situation even more difficult.
The 79th Brigade is currently operating in Konstantinovka after their recent defeat in Novomikhailovka. The brigade also said they were told no reinforcements would be sent their way.
“It looks set to get worse because there [is] increasing talk in Kiev among their analysts in military circles that Russia actually looks set to launch another new offensive, perhaps two more, to the west of this Kharkov offense in the direction… of Sumy and Chernihiv,” Sleboda concluded.
*Russian Volunteer Corps is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia.
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