Russian invading forces in Kharkiv Oblast have unveiled a new flag for the occupation regime, indicating that the Kremlin intends to annex Kharkiv Oblast as well as the Donbas and the south of Ukraine, states Institute for the Study of War in their report on July 9.
The Russian occupational authorities in Kharkiv Oblast said that Kharkiv Oblast is "inalienable part of Russian land," indicating that the Kremlin likely intends to annex part or all of it, the institute wrote.
The invaders have unveiled a new flag for the occupation regime with an image of the Russian imperial double-headed eagle and symbols from the Kharkiv coat of arms of the 18th century.
“The Kharkiv Oblast occupation government’s explicit use of Imperial Russian imagery and rhetoric pointing clearly at annexation… reinforces ISW’s prior assessment that the Kremlin has broader territorial aims than capturing Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts or even holding southern Ukraine,” ISW analysts say.
Key takeaways of ISW analysts:
Russian invading forces have continued to launch unsuccessful assaults northwest of Slovyansk and conducted offensive operations east of Siversk from the Lysychansk area.
Russian forces have continued localized attacks northwest of Kharkiv City, likely in an effort to defend Russian ground lines of communication in the area.
Russian forces continue to face personnel and equipment shortages, relying on old armored personnel carriers and launching new recruitment campaigns.
The Russians are continuing to set conditions for the annexation of Donbas, Kharkiv Oblast, and southern Ukraine.
ISW notes that on July 9, Russian troops made no confirmed territorial gains near Kharkiv, and continued what are likely spoiling attacks to disrupt Ukrainian counterattacks.