Russian Forces Capture Civilians From Ukraine's Vovchansk, Use Them As ' Human Shields': Reports

Ukrainian troops were fighting Friday to halt Russian advances in Kharkiv region that began late last week.

Russia Ukraine war | Photo: AP

A Ukrainian official said that the Russian forces have captured several civilians from Ukraine's Vovchansk town and reportedly used them as 'human shield'.

According to a CNN report in the ongoing war between the two countries, the civilians of Vovchansk have become the captives by Russian forces.

Recent attacks between Russia and Ukraine

A massive Ukrainian drone attack on the Russia-occupied Crimean Peninsula early Friday caused power cutoffs in the city of Sevastopol after an earlier attack damaged aircraft and fuel storage at an airbase.

In southern Russia, Russian authorities said the attack on Friday also set a refinery ablaze.

Moscow launched attacks in the Kharkiv region in response to Ukrainian shelling of Russia's Belgorod region.

Ukrainian troops were fighting Friday to halt Russian advances in Kharkiv region that began late last week.

The town of Vovchansk, located 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the Russian border, has been a hot spot in the fighting in recent days.

Ukrainian authorities have evacuated around 8,000 civilians from the town.

The Russian army's usual tactic is to reduce towns and villages to ruins with aerial strikes before its units move in.

What did Putin say?

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Moscow's offensive in Ukraine's northeastern Kharkiv region aims to create a buffer zone but has no plans to capture the city.

Putin's comments on a trip to China were his first on the offensive launched on May 10, which opened a new front in the war and displaced thousands of Ukrainians within few days. It came hours after

“I have said publicly that if it continues, we will be forced to create a security zone, a sanitary zone,” he said. “That's what we are doing.”

Putin said that Russian troops were “advancing daily according to plan" and said that there were no plans to capture Kharkiv, for now.

By starting the new offensive, Russian troops “expanded the zone of active hostilities by almost 70 kilometers” (about 45 miles), in an effort to force Ukraine to spread its forces and use reserve troops, Ukraine's military chief, Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, said Friday.

In the Kharkiv region, Russian forces have advanced 10 kilometers from the border, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told reporters on Friday.

(With AP inputs)