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Ukraine says its troops are advancing in the east of the country while Russia says Kyiv has launched its long-awaited counteroffensive

The forces of Ukraine They are “shifting towards offensive actions” in some parts of the country, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar announced Monday.

Kyiv military sources told the BBC that they are carrying out a series of small-scale armored offensive operations.

LOOK: The Russian strategy after the increase in missile attacks on Kyiv

They did not say whether this is the start of the expected Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Malyar described the eastern city of Bakhmut as the “epicenter of hostilities.”

On Monday night, he claimed Ukrainian troops had advanced up to 1.6 km in various directions around the city and noted that Russian forces were also on the defensive in the south.

The commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, General Oleksandr Syrskyi, said the troops were “advancing” towards Bakhmut and had destroyed a Russian position near the city.

President Volodomyr Zelensky later praised his forces in the region for delivering “the news we expected.”

For several months, Bakhmut has been at the center of heavy fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces.

The Russian Wagner paramilitary group had claimed to have captured the town. But in recent weeks, some analysts have suggested that Kyiv forces are trying to encircle it and trap Russian units.

The start of the great counteroffensive?

A major Ukrainian counteroffensive has long been expected, but Kyiv has already said it will not give advance notice of its start.

Yet at the same time that Ukraine claims to have made marginal gains elsewhere on the front line, there has been a notable increase in military activity.

Therefore, the latest reports are seen as a fresh sign that the long-awaited Ukrainian counter-offensive may have begun.

A video released by the Ukrainian military allegedly shows a military vehicle near Bakhmut. The BBC has not verified the date of the image. (PRESS SERVICE OF THE UKRAINIAN FORCES).

The Russian Defense Ministry said Ukraine also launched the “large-scale offensive” in the Donetsk region on Sunday using six mechanized and two tank battalions.

He claimed that the Ukrainians tried to break through the Russian defenses in what Kyiv saw as the most vulnerable part of the front line, but which “did not achieve its task, did not succeed”.

Video from what Russia said was the battle in Donetsk showed military vehicles under heavy fire in the fields.

Russia claims it killed 300 soldiers and destroyed 16 tanks. However, these claims by Moscow have not been independently verified.

And on Monday, Ukraine’s military said it had no information about a major attack in the region.

“We do not have that information and we do not comment on any kind of falsehood,” a spokesman for the Ukrainian military told Reuters.

If the images of armored vehicles under heavy fire are authentic, then they reflect the stiff resistance Ukrainian forces will face as they attempt to liberate more territory.

And if it is not what it seems, it is still an attempt by Moscow to take control of the narrative.

There has been a significant increase in Ukrainian messages about when and how their counter-offensive could take shape.

Ukraine has been planning such a move for months. But it has wanted as much time as possible to train its troops and receive military equipment from the Western allies.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said his country now had enough weapons for a counter-offensive, but did not comment on whether it had started, Reuters reported.

Officials in kyiv warned against public speculation about the offensive, saying it could help the enemy.

“Plans love silence. There will be no announcement of the start”the Defense Ministry said in a video posted on Telegram on Sunday. Images of him showed well-armed, masked troops putting their fingers to their lips.

Ukrainian soldier.  (GETTY IMAGES).

Ukrainian soldier. (GETTY IMAGES).

Much at stake

It will take time for Ukraine to achieve its goal of liberating the territory occupied by Russia for nine years.

And Moscow has had time to prepare. That means that if Ukraine is able to mount a counter-offensive, it will take a while.

The stakes are high because the Kyiv government needs to show the people of Ukraine – and the Western allies – that it can break through Russian linesput an end to the military stalemate and recover part of their sovereign territory.

Meanwhile, anti-government fighters in Moscow say they have captured some Russian soldiers in Belgorod, near the Ukrainian border.

Members of the Russian Volunteer Corps pose for a photo at the Kozinka border post.  (REUTERS).

Members of the Russian Volunteer Corps pose for a photo at the Kozinka border post. (REUTERS).

The claim was made by the Russian Freedom Legion, which described the announcement as a joint statement with the Russian Volunteer Corps.

Both groups want to overthrow President Vladimir Putin and say they oppose the full-scale invasion of Ukraine launched in February last year.

Russia has blamed Ukraine for recent attacks on its border territories, but Kyiv denies being directly involved.

Source: Elcomercio

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