Ukraine expressed a heightened sense of urgency over its looming counteroffensive in the south on Thursday as it said Russia was racing to bolster its forces in the region and taking further steps to solidify its political hold in the territory it controls.
Russia directed dozens of missiles at targets across Ukraine, including 25 fired from Belarus, according to the Ukrainian military, even as it moved soldiers and equipment to the southern region of Kherson.
Ukrainian forces continued to hold their defensive lines in eastern Ukraine while continuing to target key command and control centres and Russian troop strongholds deep behind Russian lines.
Ukrainians have been setting the stage for a broad counteroffensive in the south for some time, and long-range missile strikes in recent days have left thousands of Russian soldiers stationed west of the Dnipro river around the port city of Kherson in a precarious position, largely cut off from Russian strongholds to the east.
But Russia is now moving “the maximum number” of forces to the southern front in the Kherson region.