An adviser to Ukraine’s president says Russian forces have seized Ukraine’s second largest energy plant and are finishing up a “large shift” of forces to 3 southern areas, amid expectations of a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Russian-backed forces mentioned on Wednesday that they had fully captured the Soviet-era coal-fired Vuhlehirska energy plant, Moscow’s first vital advance in additional than three weeks.
Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, confirmed the seizure of the plant within the japanese Donetsk area, however mentioned it was solely a “small tactical benefit” for Russia.
Russia’s redeployment to the south seemed to be a shift from offensive to strategic protection, he added, with troops being despatched to Melitopol, Zaporozhye and Kherson areas.
Ukraine has made it clear that it intends to recapture the southern metropolis of Kherson, which was captured by Russia within the first days of the battle.
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s Nationwide Safety and Protection Council, tweeted earlier that Russia was concentrating “the utmost variety of forces” within the route of Kherson, however didn’t give particulars.
Arestovich additionally mentioned that Ukraine’s operation to liberate Kherson has “already begun” after hitting the Antonivskyi Bridge – a key provide path to the Russian-occupied southern metropolis.
“We are going to do the whole lot to make sure that the occupying forces do not need logistical alternatives in our nation,” Zelensky mentioned in a message late Wednesday, promising to rebuild the Antonovsky Bridge and different crossings within the area.
Russian officers have beforehand mentioned they’ll as a substitute flip to pontoon bridges and ferries to move troops throughout the river.
Arestovich additionally confirmed Ukraine’s technique to isolate Russian forces and mentioned in an interview with Ukrainian TV that there’s a “particular plan” of the Ukrainian armed forces to isolate Ukrainian forces. [Russia’s] army operation”.
“Irrespective of what number of forces and assets the enemy advances on the west financial institution of the Dnieper, the armed forces of Ukraine will first go away them with out warehouses of army ammunition, gasoline, communication and command, after which they’ll clear the remainder of their troops. “he mentioned, including that Russian forces have three choices: “Retreat (if doable), give up or perish.”
One other senior adviser to the president, Mykhailo Podoliak, added: “Reformers ought to be taught to swim throughout the Dnieper River.” Or ought to go away Kherson whereas it’s nonetheless doable. There will not be a 3rd warning.”
Ukrainian forces within the south mentioned they killed 66 enemy troopers and destroyed three tanks and two weapons caches previously 24 hours. Russian forces attacked town of Mikolaiv with a number of rocket launchers, they added. Reuters couldn’t verify studies from the battlefield.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken mentioned he plans to talk by telephone with Russian Overseas Minister Sergei Lavrov, the primary time the 2 diplomats have spoken for the reason that battle started.
Blinken mentioned at a press convention that the decision within the coming days “won’t be a negotiation on Ukraine” and reiterated Washington’s place that any talks on ending the battle ought to happen between Kyiv and Moscow.
Along with discussing the People detained in Russia, Blinken mentioned he would talk about with Lavrov the tentative grain export deal reached final week between Russia, the USA, Turkey and Ukraine.
Based on the TASS information company, Russia has not obtained an official request from Washington concerning the phone dialog between Blinken and Lavrov.
Blinken mentioned the U.S. had made “a severe provide” to Russia for the discharge of two U.S. residents, WNBA star Brittney Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, with out elaborating on what the U.S. provided in return.
Blinken mentioned he would press Lavrov to answer the proposal.
A supply acquainted with the state of affairs confirmed a CNN report that Washington is keen to trade Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout, who’s serving 25 years in jail in the USA, as a part of the deal.
The final publicly acknowledged contact between Blinken and Lavrov was on February 22, when Blinken wrote to Lavrov to cancel a gathering that they had deliberate as a last-ditch effort to discourage Russian aggression, saying Moscow was dedicated to severe diplomacy. doesn’t present curiosity on this matter.