The Ukrainian military has been making major efforts to end a prolonged standstill on the battlefield, striving to penetrate the Russian defensive barriers in southeastern Ukraine for a second consecutive day.
Russian officials, however, have stated that at least one assault by the Ukrainian side has been successfully prevented by Moscow’s forces.
Kyiv leadership confirmed that their military forces have indeed been amplifying their offensive operations and achieving victories.
Nevertheless, they indicated that some of the declarations by the Russians may be disinformation, amidst growing speculation about a long-expected counteroffensive following over 15 months of warfare.
Vladimir Rogov, a representative in the Russia-supported administration of the partially occupied Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine, reported hostilities recommenced along its border with the eastern Donetsk region on Monday.
This occurred subsequent to the Russian defenses repelling a Ukrainian advancement the previous day.
“The enemy threw an even bigger force into the attack than yesterday (Sunday),” and the renewed effort to breach the frontline was “more large-scale and organized,” Rogov remarked, adding: “A battle is underway.”
Rogov interpreted the Ukrainian military actions as an initiative to reach the Sea of Azov coastline and cut off the land passage to the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.
For a considerable time, analysts have considered this strategy probable since it would bifurcate the Russian forces and drastically constrain supplies to Crimea, a critical Russian military hub in the war that commenced on February 24, 2022.
Rogov’s remarks were made after Moscow also announced that its forces successfully hindered substantial Ukrainian assaults in the Donetsk region, adjacent to the Zaporizhzhia region.
In response to Russia’s claims of repulsing Ukrainian advancements, a US representative, wishing to remain anonymous while discussing sensitive topics, expressed her claim regarding the matter.
She stated “We have no reason to believe any Russian action has had any spoiling effect on pending or ongoing Ukraine operations.”
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar confirmed that the Ukrainian military has made significant strides.
“Despite fierce resistance and attempts of the enemy to hold the occupied lines and positions, our units moved forward in several directions during the fighting,” she expressed.
Malyar did not differentiate between the stages of the war, asserting that Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion “contains everything, including counter-offensive actions.” She accepted that Kyiv’s forces “in some areas … are shifting to offensive operations.”
Retired British General Richard Barrons, co-chair of the UK-based strategic consulting firm Universal Defence & Security Solutions, expressed that Ukraine was “clearly in the preliminary phase” of its counteroffensive.
“The focus will be on the tanks and artillery, and infantry — that’s the most visible tip of the spear,” he conveyed to The Associated Press, acknowledging that the counteroffensive will also incorporate politics, diplomacy, information, and cyber warfare.
Ukraine generally waits until its military operations are completed before confirming its actions.
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