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Ukrainians advance on two fronts fighting Russian forces in the east and south


The Ukrainian military is slowly pushing back Russian forces on two heavily fortified fronts, trying to encircle the tired Russian army retaking territory claimed by Vladimir Putin.

Several Ukrainian heavy armored vehicles are on their way to the area east of Donbas, where troops are moving from Lyman, a railway hub captured three days ago, to support a continuous advance towards the town of Lysychansk, held by Russia for more than three months.

About 600 kilometers to the south, Ukrainian troops forced the Russian army to entrench well into what one US official called a “defensive zone”. Fierce fighting continued in towns such as Dudchany, important stops on the way to the shipbuilding city of Kherson, which was falling more and more into Russian hands Invasion of Ukraine in February.

The two simultaneous advances have given Ukraine strategic territory, and at the same time demonstrated the ability to reuse captured Russian weapons and newly arrived Western weapons against an exhausted enemy that still awaits. Wait for the new army to be mobilized.

Ukrainian officials have been wary of discussing operational details. But Western allies briefed on the attack described operations targeting individual Russian formations spanning vast distances with an overwhelming force moving rapidly during the night.

“In the vicinity of Kherson, we continue to see deliberate and calibrated activities by the Ukrainians as they continue to attack,” a senior US military official said. “The [Russians] are obviously fighting, but they are in a defensive approach. ”

In the east, the Ukrainian military is “picking up relatively easier targets to gain some initiative,” said another western diplomat, avoiding sending more troops to bog down the cities. cities like Bakhmut, where they faced Russian artillery for months without. many effects.

Russia is trying to bolster its forces on the front lines with what Putin calls “partial” mobilization. reserve army.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Tuesday said Russia had summoned 200,000 people.

However, the measure proved unpopular at home, prompting hundreds of thousands of people to flee the country and leave the Kremlin to blame local officials.

Movement on both fronts was exhausting, with no clear updates on casualties for either side. That compares with a counter-offensive in the northeast last month, where Ukraine pushed nearly all Russian forces back to the border within days. “In the northeast, the Ukrainians have moved through Russian defenses like Swiss cheese, as opposed to the south, where it will be more difficult,” said a second US military official.

According to a Western official, Ukraine’s offensive to the south on Kherson has clearly “gained some momentum”, adding that even as Russian forces become unfeasible in terms of militarily, “it is unlikely that the Russian leadership will sanction a full withdrawal. . . for political reasons”.

As a result, the official added, “the situation in the south could become increasingly messy” with an estimated 20,000 Russian troops on the west bank of the Dnipro potentially growing “desperate.” . . with his back to the river”.

Failures have proven inevitable on Russian state television, which has tried to blame Russia’s losses on Western support for Ukraine.

“Why are we advancing meter by meter as they advance village by village? Why are things getting better for them now? ” Olga Skabeyeva, the host of the news talk show, asked on Tuesday.

Igor Girkin, a former intelligence officer who led Russia’s first incursion into the Donbas in 2014 and has been a major critic of the military’s actions during the invasion, said on Tuesday Ukraine was “in the best interests of the country.” about everything and is even using aviation” in the south forward, adding that there have been reports of further Ukrainian advances in the east.

Serhiy Kazan, an adviser to the Russian Defense Ministry, said that Russian forces along both fronts were “exhausted”, after months of attacks by Ukraine on command centers, supply lines and weapons depots. US-supplied Himars, guided missiles reaching deep behind the front. lines.

“They didn’t operate in a coordinated fashion because we chose the right tactics to destroy their communication and supply lines,” Kuzan said.

Ukraine’s advance comes as Putin prepares on Tuesday to sign into law the annexation of four Ukrainian territories into the Russian Federation. Ukraine’s military has pushed the front lines deep into two of those territories, and is gaining momentum while Russia struggles to train, equip and mobilize new recruits.

An official said US intelligence had not noticed a “large-scale” movement of Russian forces despite recent battlefield losses. The only part of the country where Russia is currently carrying out offensive action is in Bakhmut, in the mineral-rich eastern Donbas region.

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