Kyiv, May 2 (EFE).- Russian troops continue their offensive in southern Ukraine where they are pushing to reach Kherson region and occupy it in its entirety, the General Staff of the Armed Forces said Monday in its latest update.
“In the South Bug (river) direction, the occupiers are trying to reach the administrative border of the Kherson region, looking for weaknesses in Ukrainian defense” and have carried out drone strikes in the area of the city of Mykolaiv, it added.
Belarusian armed forces have been identified in the northeast areas of Volyn and Polissya, shelling continues in the city of Kharkiv, and in the direction of Donetsk, “a group of Russian occupying forces is conducting offensive operations along almost the entire line of contact,” the report said.
The General Staff further stresses that Russian troops are trying to improve their tactical position in the Popasna area and have reinforced their troops by moving a tactical group from Mariupol direction.
Russia has deployed additional anti-aircraft missile systems in the occupied territories in the Luhansk and Zaporizhia regions, according to the statement, which also highlighted “significant losses” being suffered by the occupying troops, “especially in artillery and on land.”
Specifically, it said that in the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces alone, 10 Russian attacks were repulsed in the past 24 hours, and two tanks, 17 artillery systems, 38 units of armored combat vehicles and 10 enemy vehicle units.
According to the latest analysis of the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) on Sunday, “Russian forces are setting conditions to establish permanent control over the areas of southern Ukraine they currently occupy, either as nominally independent ‘People’s Republics’ or by annexing them to Russia.”
“Russian sources reported that stores in occupied Melitopol and Volnovakha are beginning to transition to using the Russian ruble. British Defense Intelligence reported that the ruble will be used in Kherson City starting on May 1 as part of a 4-month currency transition scheme enacted by the occupation administration,” the ISW added.
“These measures, which are not necessary or normal in military occupation administrations, indicate that Russian President Vladimir Putin likely intends to retain control over these areas and that his ambitions are not confined to Donbas.” EFE