Ukrainian forces advance in the south as Russia submits to the second front

  • There is no official Ukrainian confirmation of progress in the south
  • Russian military bloggers say the troops have retreated tens of kilometers
  • Ukraine rebounded after taking over Lyman in the east of the country at the weekend

Kyiv (Reuters) – Ukrainian forces were reported to have regained control of towns along the western bank of the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine on Monday, with Moscow forced to cede territory along a second major frontline just days after it claimed it was annexed. .

The scale of the Ukrainian advance was uncertain, as Kyiv maintained complete silence about the situation in the region. But Russian military bloggers described the advance of a Ukrainian tank through tens of kilometers of land along the river bank.

In one of the rare comments by a Ukrainian official about the situation, Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko posted what he said was a video of a Ukrainian soldier waving a flag at Zolota Balka, downriver from the former frontline.

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Rob Lee, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, noted Russian bloggers who had reported retreating as far as Dudchane—40 kilometers (25 miles) downriver from where they had opposed Ukrainian forces the day before.

“When many Russian channels sound the alarm, it usually means they are in trouble,” he wrote on Twitter.

The Ukrainian advance along the Dnipro River could trap thousands of Russian troops on the far side, cutting off all supplies. The river is very wide, and the main crossings have already been destroyed by Ukraine.

The reports were the first to describe a rapid Ukrainian advance into the south of the country since the war began, and come just a day after Ukraine defeated Russian forces in a major stronghold, Lyman, on the opposite end of the front in the east.

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Advances to the east and south – part of the biggest wars to date – took place in the territories President Vladimir Putin claimed to have annexed from Ukraine only on Friday, with a concert held on the walls of the Kremlin.

It also comes amid reports of chaos at a rally ordered by Putin less than two weeks ago, which saw tens of thousands of Russian men suddenly called into the army and tens of thousands more people fled abroad.

About half of the men summoned there were found unfit for service and sent home, said Mikhail Degarev, the governor of Russia’s far eastern Khabarovsk region. He dismissed the military commissar in the region.

The fall of Lyman in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, hours after Putin announced its annexation, opened the way for Ukrainian forces to strike deeper into Russian-controlled territory and cut off the remaining Russian supply routes.

“Thanks to the successful operation in Lyman, we are moving towards the second north-south path…this means that the second supply line will be disrupted,” Reserve Col. Viktor Kevlyuk of the Ukrainian Defense Strategies Center said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the capture of Lyman showed that Ukraine was able to expel Russian forces and demonstrated the impact of Ukraine’s deployment of advanced Western weapons on the conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the success of the country’s soldiers was not limited to Lyman.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Ukraine’s gains were “extremely encouraging” for Washington.

The speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament said that the Russian parliament will discuss bills on Monday to accommodate the four Ukrainian regions. These are Donetsk and Luhansk in the east, Kherson and Zaporizhia in the south.

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Written by Peter Graf Editing by Gareth Jones

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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