'numerically superior tank units'
Ukrainian forces break through Russian defenses in southern Kherson, expand gains in northeast
Ukrainian forces continued their counteroffensive in northeastern Kharkiv province on Monday, pushing eastward and southward from newly recaptured Lyman, a key logistics hub in Donetsk province, and establishing a toehold in Luhansk province. In southern Kherson province, where Kyiv's campaign to reclaim land has been progressing more slowly, Ukrainian forces broke through Russia's defensive lines on the western bank of the Dnieper River and pushed about 20 miles south.
Ukraine's armed forces mostly stuck with the operational silence they've employed throughout the monthlong Kherson campaign. But "Ukraine's advances have become so apparent that even Russia's Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, who usually focuses on his own military's successes and the enemy's losses, was forced to acknowledge it," The Associated Press reports.
Ukraine's "numerically superior tank units" were able to "forge deep into our defenses" toward the towns of Zolota Balka and Oleksandrivka, Konashenkov said Monday. Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-appointed governor of Kherson, said Ukrainian forces were advancing down the Dnieper toward Dudchany. "We are repelling all the attacks, and do not panic," he added. "By nightfall, Russian military correspondents reported that Ukrainian forces entered Dudchany, and that retreating Russian troops blew up a bridge in the area, trying to slow down the Ukrainian advance," The Wall Street Journal reports.
Ukraine has been hammering Russian supply lines and bridges across the Dnieper, cutting off an estimated 25,000 troops from reinforcements and resupply on the west bank. Kyiv plans to liberate the provincial capital, Kherson, where the situation is "so precarious that Russian authorities are restricting people from leaving," AP reports, and "making lists of young men they want to mobilize to fight," the Financial Times adds. But a closer goal is the town of Nova Kakhovka, which strategically sits at the mouth of the canal that supplies Russian-occupied Crimea with fresh water, the Journal reports.
Russia's lower house of parliament voted unanimously to illegally annex Kherson, Donetsk, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia provinces, but Ukraine's gains and Moscow's losses "put the Kremlin in the awkward position of not being able to confirm how much territory it was annexing — and, by extension, Russia's current declared borders," the Financial Times reports. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that Russia will determine its claimed Kherson and Zaporizhzhia borders in "consultation with the inhabitants of these regions."