The long-awaited counter-offensive by Ukrainian troops has begun in the southern region of Kherson, with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy declaring: “If they want to survive, it is time for the Russian army to flee.
Ukrainian troops broke through Russian defenses in several frontline areas near the city of Kherson, a senior adviser to Zelenskiy said Monday.
Oleksiy Arestovych said in a video interview that Ukrainian forces were also bombing ferries in the Kherson region that Moscow uses to supply Russian-occupied territory on the west bank of the Dnieper.
In a speech Monday evening, Zelenskiy did not specifically address the counteroffensive but said: “The occupiers must know: we will drive them out to the border. At our border, the course of which has not changed.
Those who surrendered would be treated under the Geneva conventions, he said, adding: “If they don’t listen to me, they will deal with our defenders, who won’t stop until they will not have liberated everything that belongs to Ukraine”.
Ukrainian troops recaptured four villages near the city of Kherson after breaking through the frontline in three places, CNN reported, citing a Ukrainian military source, with the main “target” being Kherson. The operation began with a heavy shelling of Russian positions and the rear, forcing them to flee, the source said.
The Russian Defense Ministry said Ukrainian troops attempted an offensive in the Mykolaiv and Kherson regions but suffered heavy casualties, the RIA news agency reported. “The enemy’s offensive attempt failed miserably,” he said.
Battlefield reports could not be independently verified.
Earlier on Monday, a spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Southern Command, Nataliya Humenyuk, confirmed that the counter-offensive had begun in Kherson province after a video leaked online allegedly showed a soldier from the self-declared Republic of Donetsk, led by Russia, saying Ukrainian forces had broken through the first line of defense.
The operation was being carried out in “many directions” in the south, Humenyuk told a briefing and urged local residents to urgently leave or take shelter.
Humenyuk said the operation needed “silence” as media attention could affect the results. His claims could not be independently corroborated.
Humenyuk said Russian forces were strong and while morale was low in their ranks, “it was too early to relax.” Western and Ukrainian military intelligence noted a buildup of Russian troops and equipment this summer, suggesting that Russia was planning its own offensive.
However, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has warned politicians, experts and opinion leaders not to speculate on the conduct of a military operation before the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and the army publish statements. official statements.
“I understand our wishes and our dreams… But war is not ‘content’. Let’s filter the information and work professionally out of respect for our defenders,” he wrote on Telegram.