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  |   Politics


Russia-Ukraine war: Zelenskyy says Russians should run for their lives as Ukrainian forces launch counteroffensive / Wikimedia Commons

Ukrainian forces have been gearing up for a major counteroffensive to take back seized territories. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Russians to flee as Ukraine has launched its counter-attack to retake southern Ukraine.

Zelenskyy told Russian forces to run for their lives as Ukrainian troops launched their counter-attack in southern Ukraine, bolstered with weapons provided by the West. This is despite Russia’s claim that it has foiled Ukraine’s attempts to counterattack.

“If they want to survive, it’s time for the Russian military to run away. Go home,” said Zelenskyy in his nightly address, adding that he would not disclose Kyiv’s battle strategy. “Ukraine is taking back its own.”

Kyiv said Monday that its ground forces went on the offensive for the first time after a period of air strikes on Russian supply lines. Ukrainian forces have especially targeted Russian ammunition depots and bridges across the Dnipro river.

The counter-offensive also follows weeks of stalemate between the two countries in a war that is moving toward its seventh month.

Thousands have been killed, and millions were displaced from the conflict that started when Russia invaded back on February 24. Ukraine sees recapturing the southern territory as key to preventing Russia’s attempts to seize more land further west that may cut Ukraine off from the Black Sea.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said the Russian defenses on the frontlines in the occupied Kherson were broken through in a span of hours. It remains to be seen which line of Russian defense Arestovych was referring to.

Arestovych also said Ukrainian forces were shelling ferries that Russia was using to supply its forces on the west bank of the Dnipro river.

Ukrainian military spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk said Tuesday that Ukraine could destroy any pontoon bridge across the river that Russia has attempted to build or ferry across.

Meanwhile, the US State Department said Tuesday that an assessment found that Moscow is preparing to stage sham referendums in the areas of Ukraine that it has seized to manipulate the results and claim that Ukrainians want to join Russia.

Polling data showed that in a free referendum, Ukrainians would choose not to join Russia, according to department spokesperson Vedant Patel during a news briefing.

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