Ukraine’s military has launched its long-awaited counter-offensive against Russian forces, according to a senior officer near the front lines.
After months of buildup to a campaign that could prove crucial in Kyiv’s bid to reclaim occupied territory, a wave of attacks Thursday focused on the war’s southeastern front lines and appeared to represent a significant new push.
This new phase of the war, which many see as crucial to persuading Western allies to renew their support, comes as Ukraine grapples with the fallout from the destruction of a critical dam in the region.
Ukraine’s government has consistently said there would be no public announcement of the start of the offensive. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing military operations, while a Ukrainian military spokesman declined to comment.
Russian officials and the country’s cadre of influential military bloggers have been sounding the alarm for days and reported a sudden intensification of attacks in the southern Zaporizhzhia region Thursday.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that its forces had beaten back a large overnight offensive, inflicting heavy losses.
Ukraine’s 47th Mechanized Brigade, with up to 1,500 troops and 150 armored vehicles, “made an attempt to break through” Russian lines, the ministry said in a statement.
The British Defense Ministry said Thursday that “heavy fighting continues along multiple sectors of the front” and in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, Hanna Maliar, said.