Residents of Kharkiv remain resolute as Russia launches new offensive in the region

Residents of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second biggest city, remained defiant despite fierce fighting raging in the region after Russian forces launched an armored incursion on a new front that may presage a broader push into the area. As battles raged in the north and east of the Kharkiv region, the city itself enjoyed a rare moment of calm on Sunday, May 12. Residents took to the streets and parks of the city, walking, shopping, taking children to playgrounds. Many attended Sunday church services. The mood was upbeat, with most people believing the incursion on the new front will not scare them to flee the city. Many said they trusted Ukrainian forces to push Russians away. Others said that despite months of relentless rocket, drone and artillery attacks on the city, they were determined to stay in their homes and hoped their children would grow up in the city. Kharkiv’s governor Oleh Syniehubov said on Saturday there was no imminent danger to the city of Kharkiv and no need to begin evacuating its roughly 1.3 million inhabitants. Kyiv officials have repeatedly said they do not believe Russia has the forces available to capture the city.