The Ukrainian military continued to counterattack in the occupied southern region of Kherson, striking a key bridge over the Dnieper River on Wednesday.
Ukrainian media on Thursday quoted Ukraine’s presidential adviser, Oleksiy Arestovich, as saying that the operation to liberate Kherson “has already begun”.
Mr Arestovich said Kyiv’s forces were planning to isolate Russian troops there and leave them with three options – to “retreat, if possible, surrender or be destroyed”.
An update from the MoD confirmed the effective counter attack with the update reading: “Ukraine’s counter-offensive in Kherson is gathering momentum. Their forces have highly likely established a bridgehead south of the Ingulets River, which forms the northern boundary of Russian-occupied Kherson.
"Ukraine has used its new long range artillery to damage at least three of the bridges across the Dnipro River which Russia relies upon to supply the areas under its control.
"One of these, the 1000 metre long Antonivsky bridge near Kherson city, was damaged last week. Ukraine struck it again on 27 July 2022 and it is highly likely that the crossing is now unusable.
“Russia’s 49th Army is stationed on the west bank of the Dnipro River and now looks highly vulnerable.
"Similarly, Kherson city, the most politically significant population centre occupied by Russia, is now virtually cut off from the other occupied territories. Its loss would severely undermine Russia’s attempts to paint the occupation as a success.”
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, in televised remarks on Wednesday said he was “cautious” in assessing the timeline of the possible counter-offensive.
“I would really like it to be much faster,” he said, adding that “the enemy is now concentrating the maximum number (of forces) precisely in the Kherson direction”.
“A very large-scale movement of their troops has begun, they are gathering additional forces,” Mr Danilov warned.
Russian forces have launched massive missile strikes on Ukraine’s Kyiv and Chernihiv regions, areas that have not been targeted in weeks, while Ukrainian officials announced an operation to liberate an occupied region in the country’s south.