Russian forces in the south of Ukraine are currently on the defensive but are attempting to regain their lost positions, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Defense, Hanna Malyar, said on Ukrainian national television on Sept. 14.
“The south is the primary direction of our advance, and throughout the southern region, the enemy is in a defensive posture.”
“This means that we are moving forward there, while they are defending. Even though it may appear that the news sounds similar day by day, in reality, the situation is highly dynamic.”
Malyar also stated the while Russia is on the defensive, this does not mean its military is merely holding its positions.
“This means that intense battles are ongoing in that area. In terms of the number of shelling incidents, if we focus on the southern front, hundreds of thousands of rounds are fired from the enemy, with thousands of shelling incidents occurring. It amounts to 4-5 thousand shelling incidents per week,” Malyar said.
Malyar pointed out that the enemy is reluctant to leave the settlements that have already been liberated.
“When it comes to Robotyne – the positions that we have already occupied and even fortified, we still find ourselves defending these areas against Russian assaults because they (the Russians) aim to regain their lost positions,” she added.
Ukrainian counteroffensive – Latest updates
A new phase of Ukraine's counter-offensive has now begun, with the main thrust in the southeast, where Ukrainian forces were gradually advancing through minefields and under Russian airstrikes, U.S. newspaper the New York Times reported earlier.
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi, responding earlier to criticism of the “slow pace” of the counter-offensive, told U.S. officials that Ukrainian forces were on the verge of a breakthrough in their southern counter-offensive, U.S. newspaper the Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 24, citing an unnamed U.S. official.
Meanwhile, Malyar confirmed the liberation of the village of Robotyne in Zaporizhzhya Oblast by the Ukrainian military on Aug. 28. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have since been advancing further towards the Novodanylivka-Verbove area in southern Ukraine.
Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, commander of the Tavria operational group in the southern part of the country, confirmed on Sept. 2 that Ukrainian forces had breached the first Russian defense line in Zaporizhzhya Oblast.
Ukrainian forces have liberated part of the village of Opytne south of the front-line town of Avdiyivka in Donetsk Oblast, Malyar said on Sept. 11.
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