- by Yaroslav Rukiv
- BBC news
Russian officials and military bloggers reported heavy fighting in the region and said Ukrainian military offensives continued in the key southern Zaporizhia region.
They said Ukrainian forces, supported by tanks, artillery and drones, were about to march south of the town of Orihiv for a second night march.
A senior Ukrainian defense official said the enemy was “actively defending”.
Several military experts said Zaporizhia would be the focus of Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive.
They claim that Kiev is trying to regain access to the Sea of Azov and divide the occupying Russian forces in the region into two separate groups.
That would not only reduce the country’s combat capabilities, but would also eliminate a land bridge to Crimea, Ukraine’s southern peninsula illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.
Earlier, the U.S.-based Institute for War Studies (ISW) said that Kiev had remained tight-lipped on the issue, but Ukraine had begun a counteroffensive.
“Intense fighting continues on multiple front lines in a highly complex operational situation,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
He added that “in most areas Ukraine is in the lead.”
Russia occupied most of the Zaporizhia region, including Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, shortly after President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion in February 2022.
The regional capital, Zaporizhia, is controlled by Ukraine.
Several Russian pro-Kremlin military bloggers reported late Thursday that Ukraine had resumed its offensive overnight.
Armored personnel carriers and drones to direct artillery fire were also deployed, he said.
Russian-appointed local official Vladimir Rogov said there was “active fighting” in the area between Orihiv and Tokmak, with Russian forces holding positions.
The town of Tokmok is viewed by many military experts as an important target for Ukraine’s push into the Sea of Azov.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said earlier reported attacks by Ukrainian forces were repulsed and caused damage to the enemy. The minister did not provide any evidence to support his claims.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hannah Mariar said in a brief statement on Thursday that Russian forces were now “executing an active defense” in the direction of Zaporizhia.
In the latest bulletin Thursday night, the Ukrainian military only said “the enemy remains on the defensive” against Zaporizhia and the neighboring Kherson region, which was hit by massive flooding after a major dam burst earlier this week. Stated.
The Ukrainian military added that Russian forces had carried out airstrikes and artillery in the area during the day.
Ukraine has been planning a counterattack for months, hoping to train its troops for as long as possible and receive advanced military equipment from its Western allies.
Last month, Ukraine National Security and Defense Council secretary Oleksiy Danilov told the BBC that Kiev was ready to launch an offensive, but did not give a specific date.