Ukrainian forces have made their biggest breakthrough on the southern front since the war as they storm the key city of Kherson.
Brave soldiers reportedly advanced quickly along the Dnipro River on Monday, encircling thousands of Russian troops.
Kyiv gave no official confirmation of the gains, but Russian sources acknowledged that a Ukrainian tank offensive had advanced dozens of kilometers along the west bank of the river, retaking a number of villages in the process.
The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine claimed the milestone progress after another 500 Russian troops were eliminated – for a total of over 60,000.
The breakthrough echoes recent Ukrainian successes in the east, which have turned the tide of the war against Russia, even as Moscow has sought to up the ante by annexing territories, ordering mobilization and threatening nuclear retaliation.
Images from the eastern town of Izium showed the damage done as another 23 tanks were destroyed and another 26 armored vehicles wiped out in the final offensive.
However, Ukrainian forces are currently occupying an area just 20 miles from the city of Kherson, the capital of one of the annexed regions, while attempting to advance further.
“The information is strained, let’s put it that way, because yes, there have indeed been breakthroughs,” Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-installed leader in the occupied parts of Kherson province, told Russian state television.
“There is a settlement called Dudchany, right on the Dnipro River, and right there, in this region, there was a breakthrough. There are settlements occupied by Ukrainian forces,” he said.
Dudchany is about 25 miles south of where the front stood just a day earlier, indicating one of the fastest advances in the war and by far the fastest in the south.
Russian forces are believed to have been dug into heavily reinforced positions along a mainly static front line since the first weeks of the invasion, but gained important territory in the latest push.
Stanford’s Francis Fukuyama, an expert on military and international politics, exclaimed on Twitter that “a much larger collapse of Russia will take place in the coming days.”
The advance in the south mirrors tactics that have seen Kyiv make big gains in eastern Ukraine since early September, where its forces were quickly seizing territory in a bid to seize control of Russian supply lines, cutting off larger Russian forces and forcing them to retreat.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s advance in the south is believed to have targeted supply lines for thousands of Russian troops – perhaps as many as 25,000 – where they are sending a large contingent to halt a Ukrainian counterattack announced there in August.
Ukraine has already destroyed key bridges across the Dnipro, forcing Russian forces to use makeshift crossings.
A significant advance along the river could bring these remaining crossings within artillery range.
“The fact that we broke through the front means that … the Russian army has already lost the ability to attack and may lose the ability to defend today or tomorrow,” said Oleh Zhdanov, a Kyiv-based military analyst.
“A month of our labor destroying their supplies and reducing the combat effectiveness of this group means they are living on minimal rations of ammunition, fuel and food.”
The latest advances come just days after Vladimir Putin was eclipsed when he gave a concert in Moscow’s Red Square on Friday to declare the provinces of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia forever Russian territory.
Just hours later, Ukraine recaptured Lyman, the main Russian bastion in northern Donetsk province.
Despite parroting Russian state lines, the gains have reportedly paved the way for Ukrainian forces to push deep into Luhansk province and threaten key supply routes to areas Moscow captured in some of the war’s bloodiest battles in June and July.
Amid recent reports of Ukraine’s progress on the battlefield, chaos continues in Russia over the mobilization that Putin ordered 10 days ago.
Tens of thousands of Russian men were drafted while tens of thousands others, including young men, fled to avoid drafting into the bloody war.
Some have even inflicted horrific injuries on themselves as confidence in the war effort dwindles by the day.
Internal conflict in Russia has reportedly signaled a turnaround for “cancer-stricken” Putin, who today was described as “distressed” by intelligence experts watching.
David Petraeus, who served as director of the CIA under Barack Obama, told ABC: “It can always get worse for Putin and for Russia.
“And the use of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield will not change that.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6356335/ukraine-breakthrough-southern-front-blow-putin/ With the last blow against Putin, Ukraine achieves the “biggest breakthrough” in the south