March 25, 2023

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Ukraine’s biggest success since the beginning of the war. Kievan forces broke the Russian defensive line in the south

Ukrainian forces have broken through Russia’s defensive line in the south of the country, while expanding their rapid offensive in the east, recapturing new territory in areas annexed by Moscow and threatening supply lines for Russian troops.

In the biggest success on the southern front since the start of the war, Ukrainian forces recaptured several villages on Monday in their advance along the strategic Dnieper River, Ukrainian officials and a Russian-installed commander in the area said. writes, citing Reuters.

The rift in the south reflects the Ukrainians’ recent advance in the east, even as Moscow has tried to raise the stakes, annexing territory, ordering mobilization and threatening nuclear retaliation.

Now Ukraine has made significant gains in two of the four Russian-held regions that Moscow annexed last week after so-called referendums – polls denounced by Kyiv and Western governments as illegal and coercive.

In a sign that Ukraine is gaining momentum on the eastern front, Reuters reporters saw convoys of Ukrainian military vehicles moving on Monday to reinforce the Lîman railway junction, recaptured over the weekend, and a staging post for pressure in the Donbas region.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Ukrainian army had recaptured towns in several areas, without giving details.

“New settlements were released in several regions. “Heavy battles are taking place in several sectors of the front,” Zelenski said in a video message.

Sergei Gaidai, the governor of Lugansk – one of the two regions that make up Donbas – said Russian forces had taken control of a psychiatric hospital in the town of Svatovo, a target en route to recapturing the cities of Lysyceansk and Severodonetsk.

“There is a network of underground rooms in the building and they have taken up defensive positions,” he told Ukrainian television. “It may be an understandable tactic, but it won’t save them,” he said.
In the south, Ukrainian troops have recaptured the city of Dudceani, on the western bank of the Dnieper River, which divides the country, Vladimir Saldi, the leader installed by the Russians in the occupied parts of the Ukrainian province of Kherson, told Russian state television.

“There are localities that are occupied by Ukrainian forces,” said Saldi.

Dudceanî is about 30 kilometers from where the front line was before Monday’s breach, marking the fastest advance so far in the war in the south. Russian forces there have been in fortified positions along a more static front line since the first weeks of the invasion.
Kiev has yet to provide a full account of the new developments, but the Ukrainian military and regional officials have provided some details.
Soldiers from Ukraine’s 128th Mountain Assault Brigade raised the country’s blue-yellow flag in Miroliubivka, a village located between the former front line and the Dnieper, according to a video released by the Ministry of Defense.

Serghei Khlan, a member of the Kherson regional council, listed four other villages recaptured or where Ukrainian troops were photographed.

“This means that our armed forces are moving strongly along the banks of the Dnieper river, towards Berislav”, he said.
Reuters could not independently verify these events.

The advance from the south targets supply lines for about 25,000 Russian troops on the west bank of the Dnieper River. Ukraine has already destroyed the main bridges over the river, forcing Russian troops to use improvised crossings.

A substantial advance down the river could isolate them completely.

“The fact that we broke the front means that… the Russian army has already lost its ability to attack and today and tomorrow it could also lose its ability to defend itself,” said Oleg Zhdanov, a military analyst from Kyiv.

Ukraine appears to be on track to achieve several of its battlefield objectives, giving Kiev a “better defensive position to overcome what will likely be a reduction in heavy fighting over the winter,” he said on Monday. Celeste Wallander, a Pentagon official.

Since early September, Ukrainian forces have rapidly gained territory in the east to seize control of Russian supply lines, isolating many Russian forces and forcing them to retreat.

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