Ukrainian forces advance south as Russia backs down on second front

  • No official Ukrainian confirmation of the advance in the south
  • Russian military bloggers say troops are retreating tens of kilometers
  • Ukraine buoyed by weekend Lyman capture in the East

KYIV, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Ukrainian forces reportedly retook towns along the western bank of the Dnipro river in southern Ukraine on Monday, as Moscow was forced to cede territory along a second front line major just days after claiming to have annexed it. .

The extent of the Ukrainian advance has not been confirmed, with Kyiv maintaining almost complete silence on the situation in the region. But Russian military bloggers described the advance of a Ukrainian tank over tens of kilometers of territory along the river bank.

In one of the few comments from a Ukrainian official on the situation, Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the Interior Ministry, posted what he described as a video of a Ukrainian soldier waving a flag in Zolota Balka, in downstream from the old front line.

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Rob Lee, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute think tank, quoted Russian bloggers who reported that their forces were retreating to Dudchany – 40 km (25 miles) downriver from the location. where they had clashed with Ukrainian troops a day earlier.

“When so many Russian channels sound the alarm, it usually means they are in trouble,” he wrote on Twitter.

A Ukrainian advance along the Dnipro River could trap thousands of Russian troops on the other side, cut off from all supplies. The river is extremely wide and Ukraine has already destroyed the main crossing points.

The reports were the first to describe a rapid Ukrainian advance in the south of the country since the start of the war, and come just a day after Ukraine routed Russian troops in a major stronghold, Lyman, in the opposite end of the front to the east.


Advances east and south – among the largest in the war so far – all took place in territory President Vladimir Putin claimed he annexed to Ukraine only on Friday, with a celebratory concert near the Kremlin walls.

They also come amid reports of chaos during a mobilization ordered less than two weeks ago by Putin, which saw tens of thousands of Russian men suddenly called into the army and tens of thousands of others fleeing abroad.

Mikhail Degtyarev, governor of the Khabarovsk region in Russia’s Far East, said about half of the men called up there had been deemed unfit for work and sent home. He sacked the region’s military commissioner.

The fall of Lyman in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk province, hours after Putin declared annexation, paves the way for Ukrainian forces to strike deeper into Russian-held territory and cut off roads to remaining Russian supplies.

“Thanks to the success of the operation in Lyman, we are moving towards the second north-south route … and this means that a second supply line will be interrupted,” said Reserve Colonel Viktor Kevlyuk of the Ukrainian think tank Center for Defense Strategies.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Lyman’s capture demonstrated Ukraine’s ability to dislodge Russian forces and showed the impact Ukraine’s deployment of advanced Western weapons was having on the conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the success of the country’s soldiers was not limited to Lyman.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Washington was “very encouraged” by Ukraine’s gains.

The Russian parliament is due to consider bills to absorb Ukraine’s four regions on Monday, the speaker of the parliament’s lower house said. These are Donetsk and Luhansk in the east and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south.

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Writing by Peter Graff Editing by Gareth Jones

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