Ukraine may soon begin attempts to retake Russian-held Crimea, says the country’s intelligence chief.
Kyrylo Budanov told a news website that forces could soon enter the peninsula to “occupy” it, but gave no firm timeframe.
This comes just a week after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Kerch Bridge, which connects the area to Russia, was a “legitimate” target.
The bridge was bombed to cut off arms supplies to Vladimir Putin’s forces.
Crimea has been under Russian occupation since 2014, and Ukraine has repeatedly stressed that recapture is a key part of its counteroffensive.
Zelenskyy, meanwhile, said he visited the hotspot city of Bakhmut to “congratulate” his country’s “warrior” special forces as Kiev steps up its resistance.
He said the top unit recently helped recapture the village of Staromaiorske.
Mr. Zelenskyy added: “The guys deal particularly heavy blows to Russian terrorists.”
Earlier, two teenagers were among the nine victims of a Russian missile attack that hit the top floor of a skyscraper in Dnipro, eastern Ukraine.
Officials said the couple’s condition is not life-threatening.
But Mr. Zelenskyj described the attack as “Russian rocket terror”.
He also released a video showing smoke billowing from buildings.
Ukraine’s counter-offensive gained momentum yesterday as commanders announced that North Korean missiles captured by Russian forces were now being used against the enemy.
The Financial Times reported that they were seized from a “friendly” country before being shipped to Ukraine.
Military experts predict triumphs on the battlefield in the coming days.
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met with North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-un last week to beg him for weapons to bolster his side’s dwindling supplies