UKRAINE: Ukrainian forces have recaptured a key village in the southern region of Kherson, resulting in another Russian loss and military retreat.
The defence ministry in Kyiv posted a video showing the 35th marine brigade hoisting a Ukrainian flag above Davydiv Brid, amid reports of several other villages being recaptured.
As part of Ukraine’s rapid counter-offensive measures, Russia has been forced to retreat in Ukraine’s northeast too.
Their latest setbacks came at a crucial time when President Putin was due to authorise decrees annexing four Ukrainian regions, comprising Kherson, Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia, all while the war was still raging on.
The annexation and referendums to conduct voting in these regions are illegitimate under international law, say Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky and other Western allies like the US.
Zelensky spoke with his American counterpart, Joe Biden, in a telephonic conversation on Tuesday and assured him that the US would aid them in every way possible and refuse to recognise Russian legitimacy in Ukraine. They also discussed $625 million (£550 million) in US aid, which includes HIMARS rocket launchers.
“I was pleased to hear the words of President Biden that our military inspires the whole world, our people inspire the whole world,” summing up the results of that conversation between the two world leaders.
In the south, Russia still controls Kherson, the regional capital. However, its hold on the entire area north of the Dnipro River, known as Dnipro in Ukrainian, appears to be slipping.
In the past 48 hours, Ukrainian forces have advanced south along the west bank of the river, and Russian forces have been compelled to withdraw their troops and settlements in the north of the Kherson region too.
Zelensky claimed that Ukrainian forces had made “rapid, powerful movements” in southern Ukraine this week, liberating “dozens of settlements.”
“The Ukrainian flag flies again over the village of Davydiv Brid,” Ukraine’s defence ministry announced on social media. Residents captured footage of Ukrainian soldiers walking through the village.
In his Tuesday evening address, Zelensky said the villages of Lyubymivka, Khreshchenivka, Zolota Balka, Bilyaivka, Ukrainka, Velyka Oleksandrivka and Mala Oleksandrivka had also been liberated, and that that was “far from being the whole list”.
Ukraine’s deputy interior minister Yevhen Enin said 50 towns and villages had been liberated and some 3,500 citizens freed in Kherson but did not specify over which time period.
The defence ministry said later that Russian forces were demoralised and trying to destroy bridges in an attempt to slow down the Ukrainian advance.
A Kremlin-installed official in Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, told residents: “There is no reason to panic.”
Kherson exiled deputy Mayor Roman Holovnia said: “Many settlements were flattened – some settlements have almost no undestroyed buildings left.”
Ukrainian forces have targeted Russian supply networks in the Kherson area for weeks, destroying the few bridges across the river. However, their progress in the south has been slow. Kherson was quickly captured by Russian forces as they poured into the region from the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed in 2014.
President Putin’s ‘partial mobilisation’ plan, which called up nearly 300,000 Russian men to the battlefield, has backfired terribly as more than 700,000 citizens have fled the country to escape the mandatory military conscription, Forbes magazine writes.
Russia has so far mobilised more than 200,000 troops since President Putin gave the order last month, according to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.
In other developments in the story, Iran has denied allegations of supplying Russia with drones. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran’s Nasser Kanaani said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran considers news published on the delivery of [Iran’s] drones to Russia for use in the Ukraine conflict as baseless and does not confirm it.”
The use of an Iranian drone by the Russian military was reported back in September, on the 13th, when Shahed 136 was shot down in Kupiansk.