Moscow/Lviv, Oct 6 (EFE).- Russia is trying to contain an ongoing counteroffensive with new defensive lines as Ukrainian forces announce the liberation of over 400 square kilometers of territory in the Kherson region and six localities in Luhansk.
“Our successes are quite convincing. We do not name the directions, but more than 400 square kilometers of the Kherson region have already been liberated from the occupiers. And we are moving forward,” Natalia Humeniuk, chief of the joint coordination press center of Ukraine’s Operational Command South, told reporters, adding that Ukrainian troops had pushed the frontline by at least 20 kilometers.
Since October 1, a day after Russia announced the annexation of the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, Ukrainian forces have recaptured 29 settlements, according to Ukrainian Brigadier General Oleksiy Gromov.
“In the direction of Kherson, the enemy is trying to counterattack at the expense of reserves in order to slow the advance of our troops and restore lost positions,” Gromov told a press briefing.
According to British intelligence reports, while Ukrainian forces have made significant advances, they are “not yet threatening the main Russian defensive positions.”
“Russian forces have typically broken contact and withdrawn,” the British defense ministry said in its daily report.
“Russia faces a dilemma: withdrawal of combat forces across the Dnipro makes defense of the rest of Kherson Oblast more tenable: but the political imperative will be to remain and defend,” it added.
The Kremlin, meanwhile, said the situation in the four annexed regions will “stabilize” after the ambassador of the breakaway Luhansk People’s Republic to Russia, Rodion Miroshnik, said the situation was “alarming, but stable”.
“In the city of Kreminna and in the villages there are few people left. The staff of the main social services have been evacuated,” Miroshnik wrote on his Telegram channel.
The annexation of the four eastern and southern regions came shortly after president Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of the Russian military.
The announcement prompted thousands of Russian men of military age to flee the country out of fear of being called to war.
Earlier Thursday, the Kremlin said reports that some 700,000 people had left the country was a “hoax”.
“This seems to be a hoax, (…) I don’t think this news should be taken seriously,” the Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said in his daily press conference.
British intelligence said Russia was facing “few additional, high quality rapidly deployable forces available to stabilize the front” and that it would likely deploy “mobilized reserves to the sector.” EFE