Ukrainians Claim Southern Counter-Offensive Underway, Russian Lines Breached

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Ukrainian officials claim that a long-awaited counter-offensive in the southern Kherson region is underway, and that the Russians’ first line of defence has been breached.

Russia found early success in southern Ukraine shortly after their invasion commenced, with forces striking northward from the Crimea, annexed in 2014, capturing swathes of territory even as a lightning strike for Kyiv — claimed to have been a mere feint by the Russians — appeared to end in failure.

As the invaders and pro-Russian separatists shifted their focus towards a grinding advance in the eastern Donbas region, however, the Ukrainians threatened a counter-offensive to recapture the occupied south, in recent weeks focusing their efforts on disabling bridges across the Dnieper river in order to cut off Russian forces on its west bank.

That threatened counter-offensive, officials claim, is now underway.

“Today we started offensive actions in various directions, including in the Kherson region,” said Ukrainian southern operational command spokeswoman Natalia Humeniuk in comments quoted by The Telegraph.

“The first line of Russian defences on the Kherson front has been breached,” claimed Sergey Khlan, an aide to Kyiv’s largely nominal governor of Kherson, in a Telegram post.

“Today there was a powerful artillery attack on enemy positions in… the entire territory of the occupied Kherson region,” he continued.

“This is the announcement of what we have been waiting for since the spring – it is the beginning of the de-occupation of Kherson region.”

Russian officials, for their part, have denied the counter-offensive is taking place — at least in the form described by the Ukrainians — and dismissed it as “another Ukrainian propaganda fake”.

Vladimir Leontiev, the Kremlin-backed governor of Nova Kharkova, the second-largest city in the Kherson region, has advised residents that an evacuation will be carried out, however.

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