Russian new offensive includes Zelensky’s hometown, Ukraine claims | World | News

Vladimir Putin’s forces were engaged in ‘considerable military activity’, firing from tanks, barrel and rocket artillery in several parts of Ukraine overnight, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said. And he revealed that Russia had started creating ‘a military strike force’ aimed at President Zelensky’s hometown of Kryvyi Rih. 

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian President described the ferocious frontline fighting in the East as ‘just hell’.

Military chiefs warned that Moscow appeared to be engaged in a mass new offensive in southern Ukraine – possibly in response to the threat of defending forces retaking the city of Kherson. Russia currently holds huge swathes of Ukraine’s south that it captured in the early phases of its invasion.

But Kyiv has been fighting back and warned that, aided by the US rocket system Himars, it would continue to engage in its ongoing counter-offensive. 

Ukrainian military chiefs said they have now recaptured a total of 53 villages in the occupied Kherson region.

But the defending nation’s southern military command described the situation as ‘tense’ and said Russia had again started attacking its forces along the entire frontline.

The steel-producing city of Kryvyi Rih, where President Zelensky grew up, lies around 50 km (30 miles) from the southern frontline.

“(Russia) has begun creating a strike group in the Kryvyi Rih direction. It’s also quite likely that the enemy is preparing a hostile counter-offensive with the subsequent plan of getting to the administrative boundary of Kherson region,” the southern military command said.

Ukraine has been trying to ratchet up pressure on Russia’s positions in the strategically important Black Sea region of Kherson and has used Western-supplied long-range weapons to conduct strikes on Russian supply lines and ammunition dumps.

Ukraine’s military said in a statement that Russian forces were scoping out basements in the region to turn them into bomb shelters to store military hardware.

Elsewhere, battles continued to rage along a 300-mile front in the East.

And Mr Zelensky described the fighting on parts of the eastern frontline in the heavily industrialised Donbas as “just hell” in his nightly address to the nation.

Russia has not claimed any major territorial gains in its invasion since it claimed to have captured Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region around a month ago.

But earlier this week, Ukraine’s military command acknowledged that Russia had had “partial success” in the “Donetsk-Pisky direction” around the city of Donetsk that is held by Russia and Russian-backed separatists.

Ukraine’s military command added that its troops repelled attempts by Russian forces to advance in the direction of the town of Avdiivka which is near Donetsk.

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