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Home / Politics / News /  Ukraine pushes south into strategic Kherson region

Ukraine pushes south into strategic Kherson region

In a video address, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian troops had retaken the villages of Arkhangelske and Myrolyubivka in the Kherson region

New gains come as Kyiv presses its offensive in the east after taking Lyman

KHARKIV (UKRAINE) :Ukrainian forces broke through Russian lines and made new advances in the southern Kherson region, even as they continued developing their rapid offensive in the eastern part of the country.

Ukrainian forces broke through Russian lines and made new advances in the southern Kherson region, even as they continued developing their rapid offensive in the eastern part of the country.

Pushing south, the new Ukrainian advance secured a corner of the only Russian foothold on the western bank of the Dnipro River, which bisects the country. Ukraine has in recent months destroyed all the bridges to that enclave, which includes regional capital, Kherson, making it increasingly difficult for the large Russian military contingent there to be resupplied with fuel, ammunition and food.

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Pushing south, the new Ukrainian advance secured a corner of the only Russian foothold on the western bank of the Dnipro River, which bisects the country. Ukraine has in recent months destroyed all the bridges to that enclave, which includes regional capital, Kherson, making it increasingly difficult for the large Russian military contingent there to be resupplied with fuel, ammunition and food.

In a video address, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian troops had retaken the villages of Arkhangelske and Myrolyubivka in the Kherson region, while video footage shared by Ukrainian soldiers showed the Ukrainian flag raised in a handful of other villages further south. Ukraine’s military usually doesn’t report the seizure of villages until they are fully secured, and on Monday warned against the release of premature information that could undermine Ukrainian operations.

The Russian-appointed deputy governor of Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, also said Ukrainian forces had broken through in the region, moving south toward the town of Dudchany. “We are repelling all the attacks, and do not panic," he said.

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The speed of the Ukrainian offensives on multiple fronts has caught Russia by surprise, prompting recrimination in Moscow and forcing President Vladimir Putin to announce the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of reservists. Ukraine is trying to advance as far as it can before these newly mobilized troops are trained and deployed to shore up crumbling Russian front lines.

Kherson is one of the four Ukrainian regions that Mr. Putin is annexing to Russia following sham referendums carried out late last month. None of the four is under full Russian control. Ukrainian forces in recent days made major advances in another region claimed by Russia, Donetsk, retaking the strategic town of Lyman.

Russia in February recognized the proxy statelets it created in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in 2014 in their claimed borders, which include the entirety of those regions. Russia currently controls just over half of Donetsk and doesn’t control the capital city of another region it is annexing, Zaporizhzhia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that Donetsk and Luhansk would be annexed to Russia “within 2014 borders" while the exact frontiers under which Zaporizhzhia and Kherson would be incorporated into Russia would be defined “in consultation with the inhabitants of these regions." He didn’t specify how and when these consultations would be carried out.

Combined with the continuing offensive in the eastern part of the Kharkiv region, the recapture of Lyman brings Ukrainian troops toward Luhansk, the only one of the four regions that until recently was fully controlled by Moscow. That success will allow Kyiv to try to retake the metropolitan area of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, which Russia seized in late June.

Andrey Marochko, the security spokesman for the Russian-installed government in Luhansk, said on social media Monday that Ukrainian forces had already managed to cross into the region and establish positions in the direction of Lysychansk.

Kherson is of particular significance to Ukraine. It is the only regional capital that Russia has captured since the February invasion, and the Russian military presence on the western bank of the Dnipro River creates a military threat to the Ukrainian cities of Mykolaiv and Odessa, as well as the rest of the country’s Black Sea coast.

The new Ukrainian advance along the Dnipro brings Ukrainian forces closer to the town of Nova Kakhovka, which is of strategic importance to Russia because it sits as the mouth of the canal that supplies the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula with fresh water. The canal was shut down after Russia seized Crimea in 2014, and reopened only after Russia captured most of the Kherson region this year.

As Russian forces continued to retreat, Moscow launched new missile and rocket strikes on Ukrainian cities in the rear. In the city of Zaporizhzhia, Russian S-300 missiles destroyed a building that housed a rehabilitation center for children with special needs, according to the regional government. Another Russian missile strike hit the vicinity of the city of Dnipro, the regional government there said.

 

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