Ukrainian forces claim advances in occupied Kherson region in major counterattack

30 August 2022, 08:14 | Updated: 30 August 2022, 08:17

A soldier in trenches on the Kherson frontline in Mykolaiv region, Ukraine earlier this month
A soldier in trenches on the Kherson frontline in Mykolaiv region, Ukraine earlier this month. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

Ukrainian forces have said they have broken through Russian defences across parts of the front line since launching a counterattack in the south of the country yesterday.

The focus of the fighting is in the city of Kherson which has been occupied by Moscow since the early days of the invasion.

Russia's military says Ukrainian troops suffered "heavy losses" during an unsuccessful attack. But Ukraine said they had broken through Russia’s first line of defences.

The move is part of Ukrainian efforts to push Russian troops out of the south of the country.

Neither side’s claim has been independently verified.

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Kherson was one of the first Ukrainian cities to fall in the Russian invasion.

Ukraine's Kakhovka operational group said that one regiment of Russian-backed forces had abandoned their positions in the Kherson region.

Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky's head of office, said Ukraine’s forces "have broken through the frontline in several places".

Mr Arestovych said the defences were breached in just "a few hours".

President Zelenskyy issued a warning to Russian forces last night: "If they want to survive, it is time for Russian soldiers to flee. Go home.”

"We will push them to the border. To our border, the line of which has not changed. The invaders know it well,” Zelenskyy said.

Russia's defence ministry said the offensive around Kherson and in the nearby Mykolaiv region had "failed miserably" with many casualties, RIA news agency reported.

Retired Air Vice Marshall Sean Bell explained to LBC that Kherson has "strategic and symbolic" importance to Ukraine.