Kyiv/Moscow – More than half a year after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian troops on the southern and eastern fronts appear to have counterattacked, but information about their progress is unclear. However, the Ukrainian military today claimed responsibility for the August strikes on Russian air bases on the occupied Crimean peninsula. Russian President Vladimir Putin today described the Ukrainian government as an illegitimate regime and anti-Russian sanctions as short-sighted, while shelling continues in the east of the country, according to Ukrainian officials.
Last week, Kyiv announced the launch of a counter-offensive in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, but observers are now also talking about a Ukrainian counter-attack in the eastern Ukrainian Kharkiv region, especially near the city of Balakliya. Kyiv does not comment on the situation, and Russian media claim that Balakliya remains in Russian hands, but is surrounded and a Ukrainian attempt to cut off the city of Izjum from Russian forces can be expected.
The southern operational command of the Ukrainian army announced last night that the situation in the south of Ukraine is “tense and dynamic”. Southern Command spokeswoman Nataliya Humenyukova said Ukrainian forces had captured an unspecified number of towns in the Kherson region.
But Ukraine broke its silence regarding the August shelling of the Crimean peninsula, the origin of which it officially spoke about for the first time today. In a report on the military strategy for the coming year, Ukrainian shelling of Crimea was confirmed by the Chief of the Ukrainian General Staff Valery Zaluzhny. “We are talking about a series of successful missile strikes on enemy air bases in Crimea, especially on the Saky air base,” the report says.
Despite a possible counterstrike by Ukrainian troops in the east of the country, the city of Kharkiv itself still faces shelling from Russian positions. According to mayor Ihor Těrechov, several Russian rockets hit the city last night, destroying the infrastructure. Slovjansk and Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine also report shelling. According to the office of the Ukrainian president, three civilians died during Russian shelling of the Donetsk region. Russian shelling of a village in the south of Ukraine also left three dead and seven seriously injured, the local administration said.
The anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the West on Russia after the start of the invasion are short-sighted and pose a danger to the entire world, Putin said today at an economic forum in Vladivostok. According to him, Russia is facing the economic, financial and technological aggression of the West, which causes certain difficulties for the country in some regions and areas of industry. However, the country has not lost anything through its activity in Ukraine, it is only strengthening its own sovereignty, added the head of the Kremlin.
Putin also said that Russia did not start the fighting in Ukraine, but on the contrary, it is said to be trying to end those that have been going on there since 2014. According to him, an illegitimate regime came to power then. The Russian statesman also rejected accusations that Russia is violating international law.
The secretary of the Russian ruling United Russia party, Andrey Turchak, today proposed to hold a referendum on their accession to Russia on November 4 in the occupied Ukrainian territories. According to Ukrainian media, plans for such a vote were thwarted by a Ukrainian counter-offensive in September.
Today, Russia responded to Tuesday’s report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), whose mission visited the occupied Zaporozhye nuclear power plant last week. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is seeking additional clarification on parts of the IAEA report, and Putin has said there is no Russian military equipment at the plant site. At the same time, the report says the opposite.
Russia Ukraine fighting Kharkov