Going on offense
Ukraine on Monday launched its long-projected counteroffensive in southern Kherson province, the country's first major offensive to retake territory seized by Russia after its Feb. 24 invasion. Ukrainian forces broke through Russia's defensive lines in several sectors and destroyed pontoon ferries it had been using to send troops and supplies across the Dnipro River after Ukraine rendered the main bridges inoperable, presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said Monday night.
A Ukrainian military source told CNN that Ukrainian forces had recaptured four villages from Russia as they advance on their main target, the regional capital Kherson City. By Tuesday night, Ukraine's armored forces were assaulting Russian forces "on several axes" and had "pushed the front line back some distance in places, exploiting relatively thinly held Russian defenses," Britain's Ministry of Defense wrote.
Russia's defense ministry has acknowledged the counteroffensive but said Ukraine is suffering heavily losses and making no significant territorial gains. "Top Ukrainian military officials have been tight-lipped about giving too many details about its reported counteroffensive, urging the wider public to be patient" and saying only that things are going according to plan, BBC News reports.
Ukraine's counteroffensive "will require some time to correctly execute," the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War assessed Tuesday. "The Kremlin will likely exploit the lack of immediate victory over Kherson City or Ukrainian operational silence on the progress of the Ukrainian counteroffensive to misrepresent Ukrainian efforts as failing and to undermine public confidence in its prospects."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday evening that Ukrainian forces are doing "everything possible and impossible so that every Russian serviceman will necessarily feel the Ukrainian response to this terrible terror that Russia has brought to our land." The Russian occupiers, he added, "can do only two things: run away or surrender. We leave them no other options."