Ukrainian adviser warns progress will be slow as southern counterattack begins | Ukraine

A senior presidential adviser has told Ukrainians not to expect quick gains, after his country launched a long-awaited counter-offensive aimed at retaking the southern province of Kherson from Russian forces.

Ukrainian troops broke through Russian defenses in several frontline areas near the city of Kherson, said Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Arestovitch said the forces were also bombing the ferries that Moscow uses to supply Russian-occupied territory on the west bank of the Dnieper.

But in an update posted on his official Telegram account, Arestovitch warned against expecting a quick victory, describing the offensive as a “slow operation to crush the enemy”.

“Of course many would like a full scale offensive with news of our military capturing a settlement in an hour,” he wrote. “But we don’t fight like that… Funds are limited.

Unverifiable videos of explosions were posted on Telegram groups in the city of Kherson and in the nearby occupied town of Nova Kakhovka. Ukraine‘s southern command, meanwhile, said Russia had suffered heavy losses in the past 24 hours, both in terms of men and equipment.

Ukraine first announced the start of a southern offensive in July. The Guardian could not independently verify the claims.

Zelenskiy did not specifically address the counteroffensive during his Monday evening speech, but said: “The occupiers must know: we will drive them out to the border. At our border, the course of which has not changed.

Those who surrendered would be treated under the Geneva conventions, he said, adding: “If they don’t listen to me, they will deal with our defenders, who won’t stop until they will not have liberated everything that belongs to Ukraine”.

Ukrainian troops had retaken four villages after breaking through the frontline in three places, CNN reported, citing a Ukrainian military source, with the main target being Kherson. The operation began with a heavy shelling of Russian positions in the rear, forcing the Russians to flee, the source said.

Sergiy Khlan, a local MP and adviser to the Kherson regional governor, told Ukrainian TV channel Priamyi that a “powerful artillery attack against enemy positions in … the whole territory of the occupied Kherson region” has been launched. Monday.

The Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged that a Ukrainian offensive had been launched in the Mykolaiv and Kherson regions, but said it had failed and the Ukrainians had suffered heavy losses, the news agency reported. RIA. “The enemy’s offensive attempt failed miserably,” he said.

A Ukrainian barrage of rockets left the Russian-occupied town of Nova Kakhovka east of the city of Kherson without water or electricity, Russian-appointed local authority officials said later.

Battlefield reports could not be independently verified. In an intelligence note, the British Ministry of Defense said that although it is not yet possible to confirm the extent of the Ukrainian advances, its army had increased artillery fire “in the front line sectors of the southern Ukraine”.

He added that Ukraine was using long-range precision strikes to disrupt Russian supply lines.

Ukraine’s offensive in the south comes after weeks of stalemate in a war that has killed thousands, displaced millions, destroyed cities and sparked a global energy and food crisis amid economic sanctions unprecedented.

On Monday, a mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Kyiv, according to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. The mission is to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Russian-occupied territory for an inspection and to provide technical assistance. The factory was damaged by the fighting. Russia captured it in early March but it is still manned by Ukrainian personnel.

The world was on edge last week when fighting cut off the plant’s vital electricity supply, disconnecting it from the grid for the first time in history.

The IAEA mission will spend four days at the factory, leaving on Saturday, according to the Wall Street Journal. It remains to be seen whether the mission will be able to travel, as shelling continues in and around the nuclear power plant. The two parties exchange responsibility for the attacks. Ukraine claims these are false flag attacks.

Ukraine’s state nuclear agency, Energoatom, said on Tuesday the plant was operating normally and radiation levels had not increased.

The United States, Ukraine and the UN have called for the demilitarization of the plant, but Russia has said “there are no ongoing discussions” on demilitarization, the agency reported. Russian press Tass, quoting Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

The United States further called for the closure of the plant. “We continue to believe that a controlled shutdown of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactors would be the safest and least risky option in the short term,” said White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

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