Ukraine aims to extend the counter-offensive to the Donbass in a new phase of the war with Russia. Ukrainian officials say the Kiev army is trying to advance in the region after having achieved a series of positive results in the recent counter-offensive in the north-east of the country, where in recent days it has been able to recapture portions of occupied territory, forcing Russian troops to withdraw.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian forces are strengthening their hold on 8,000 sq km of recaptured territory in the Kharkiv region. Russia still controls about a fifth of Ukrainian territory, but fighting is underway on the border with the cities of Donbass, as Andrey Marochko, military commander of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic, one of two provinces, told Russian state media. part of the Donbass.
For his part, Serhiy Hayday, governor of Luhansk, said that Ukrainian forces were engaging in clashes with Russian troops on the outskirts of Lyman: “There are fierce battles in Lyman now, which I think will last a few more days,” he wrote on Telegram. .
Zelensky reiterated his confidence in the return of Crimea and the other occupied territories in Ukraine. “We must send a message to the people in the occupied territories, in the Crimea. It is our people and the occupation, more than eight years ago, is a tragedy. War is not fought only with weapons. Russia attacks with television. and other media and with information warfare “.
“My message is that we will return – added Zelensky – It does not matter what people have listened to for eight years on propaganda TV. We know that the truth is on our side. I do not know when it will happen. Nobody knows. We will return because this is it. our land and our people “.
Meanwhile, the Russian soldiers deployed in southern Ukraine are reportedly retreating towards Crimea. “We see the attempts of the occupiers to flee to the Crimea where they are regrouping. It will be easier for us: clusters of military equipment are a big target,” Natalia Humeniuk, spokeswoman for the Ukrainian southern command, said in a briefing. .
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