Ukrainian officials have given upbeat assessments of the progress of the military’s counteroffensive in the Kherson region, nearly one week after acknowledging the operation had begun.
There are indications that Ukrainian forces have made modest gains on the ground, but also of Russian counter-attacks in some areas. Much of the fighting is along the border of Kherson with the regions of Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk.
Natalia Humeniuk, the spokeswoman for the Ukrainian military’s southern command, said Ukraine was able to hit any routes the Russians could use to bring up reserves.
Ukrainian fire had caused “the destruction of command posts of many powerful units, on which the Russian leadership made a big bet. That is, these are already decapitated units,” she said.
Humeniuk also said that new Russian attempts to build pontoon bridges across the river Dnipro to resupply their frontlines had been taken out.
She claimed that Ukraine’s military operations would make it impossible for the Russians to stage referendums in areas they occupy. The resistance movement in the South was also “a serious factor that affects their [Russian] plans and actions, since it is both propaganda work and work to physically eliminate collaborators,” she said.
In his daily video message on Saturday, President Volodymyr Zelensky also sounded an optimistic note about the battlefield. “
“Today, our air force has a good result: downed “Calibres” [cruise missiles], attack helicopter of the occupiers, drones … We will do everything so that Ukraine can fully protect its skies from Russian missiles and aircraft,” he said.
Ukrainian artillery was “doing everything to destroy the strike potential of the invaders,” Zelensky added.
Some context: Ukrainian military officials have given few details on where progress is being made and to what extent. One axis of the counter-offensive appears to be south of the city of Kryvih Rih.
The Institute for the Study of War assessed Friday that the town of Kreshchenivka may now be in Ukrainian hands, because the Ukrainian General Staff had spoken of Russian airstrikes in the area. Remotely sensed fire data also suggests multiple explosions in the district over the last two days.