Ukraine has launched a counteroffensive to recapture the city of Kherson, aiming to liberate the region by September, The Guardian reports.
Officials say the military has reached a “turning point” and will seek to recapture the city, which was home to about 300,000 people. It was the first major city captured by Russia.
“We can say that a turning point has occurred on the battlefield. We are switching from defensive to counteroffensive actions,” Sergiy Khlan, an aide to the administrative head of the Kherson region, said Sunday. “We can say that the Kherson region will definitely be liberated by September, and all the occupiers’ plans will fail.”
Helped by western weapons:
The military’s goals have been buoyed by deliveries of western weapons, including long-range artillery.
Ukrainian forces have moved closer to Kherson in recent weeks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed that forces would move “step by step” into the city.
Khan said on social media that Ukraine’s operation is a “continuation of the operation to cut off the Kherson group of Russians from supply” and that “without western armament, it would not have been possible.”
First major city captured:
Russia captured Kherson on March 3, days after its February 24 invasion. The Kremlin is expected to hold a dubious referendum in the city on whether it will be annexed into Russia.
“Kherson was occupied from the first days and Russia really believed that it would be able to hold a referendum and create the HPR [Kherson people’s republic] here with Russian rules and orders,” Khan wrote. “For almost half a year our people have been resisting … Occupiers are trying to forcefully and mentally conquer us, but we will endure and will definitely win.”