Lviv, Ukraine, Oct 5 (EFE).- Ukrainian forces continued to make “significant gains” against Russian occupiers in the southern Kherson region, one of the territories Moscow says it has annexed, according to a United States think tank, which concurred with claims by Kyiv and its Western allies.
The Institute for the Study of War said in its analysis of the battleground in Ukraine on Tuesday said Ukraine’s troops were also advancing in Kharkiv and Luhansk, in the northeast and east.
In the south of the country, Ukrainian forces began to collapse the “sparsely–man” Russian front line and pushed troops back toward Kherson city, the capital of the homonymous region, the ISW said.
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address late Tuesday that the army was leading a “fairly rapid and powerful advance” in the south and that dozens of settlements had been liberated in Kherson, Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk.
An intelligence report from the British defense ministry published Wednesday said: “Ukraine continues to make progress in offensive operations along both the north-eastern and southern fronts. In the north-east, in Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine has now consolidated a substantial area of territory east of the Oskil River.”
The report said it was “highly likely” that Ukrainian troops could strike the Svatove-Kremina road, an important supply chain for Russian troops in the Luhansk region behind the new front line following Ukraine’s lightning counteroffensive in the region, which has resulted in the liberation of Izyum, in Kharkiv region, and Lyman, in Donetsk.
The latest Ukrainian gains on the battlefield came as the illegal annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia was formalized by the Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, signed the annexation laws on Wednesday after they were rubber-stamped by lawmakers.
The escalatory move in the conflict, which followed a series of hastily organized referendums that have been roundly dismissed by Kyiv and the international community, was ratified despite Russia’s only partial occupation of the regions.
Ukraine’s industrial heartlands Donetsk and Luhansk, collectively referred to as the Donbas, have been under the partial control of pro-Russian separatists since a rebellion in 2014, the same year Putin annexed Crimea.
Kherson and Zaporizhzhia have been partially occupied since Putin launched his full-scale invasion in February this year. EFE