RUSSIA/UKRAINE: According to reports on Thursday, the Ukrainian counteroffensive is gaining strength in Kherson, a city in southern Ukraine under Russian control.
Russian forces claim to have taken control of the second-largest power plant in Ukraine, the coal-fired Vuhlehirsk power plant from the Soviet era.
The southern Ukrainian districts of Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson are receiving a “major redeployment” of Kremlin forces.
On the diplomacy front, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he planned a phone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov — the first between the two diplomats since the start of the war. Blinken said the call would not be “a negotiation about Ukraine.”
According to reports, it is a component of talks to secure the release of US nationals Brittney Griner, a WNBA star, and Paul Whelan, a former US Marine, detained by Russia.
Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in the US, was eager to be traded by Washington as part of a deal.
Four civilians had been murdered by Ukrainian bombardment the day before, according to Russian-backed rebels in Donetsk, east Ukraine.
A posting on an official separatist Telegram channel claims that between Wednesday at 8 a.m. and Thursday at 8 a.m., four persons were killed, and 11 others were injured.
Russia’s territorial gains
Despite initial setbacks, Russian forces are slowly taking control of the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine and currently hold a huge swath of territory connecting Crimea with Russian territory to the east.
Russia’s failure to take Kyiv may have been a costly embarrassment. Still, Putin can always argue that the primary purpose of the invasion was to secure the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics.
A message on an official separatist Telegram channel claims that between Wednesday at 8 a.m. and Thursday at 8 a.m., four persons were killed, and 11 others were injured.
Putin declared before the invasion that he had no plans to occupy all of Ukraine. That implies that he will be able to claim victory by presenting any land acquired in addition to securing Donetsk and Luhansk.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently suggested Russia plans to secure more territory than initially intended in the light of the West supplying long-range rocket systems to Ukraine.
However, Russia already has sufficient authority over the new areas, and it might concede some ground in the south while still maintaining its success.