While the Kremlin has ratified the illegal annexation of four Ukraine regions, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have made significant breakthroughs on the southern front, piercing Russian lines in Kherson – one of the annexed regions.
The southern front breakthrough is the biggest since the war began, with several villages along the strategic Dnieper River falling back into Ukrainian hands on Monday.
Commanders in the region report that Ukrainian forces have destroyed 31 Russian tanks and one rocket launcher on the southern front, without giving precise locations.
Ukraine's gains were confirmed by army authorities as well as a Russian-installed leader of the region, who added that Russian Armed forces were "digging in".
The Russian military reportedly admitted on Monday that the Ukrainian army was pressing ahead its advantage in Kherson with its “superior tank units” and had been able to pierce Russian frontlines around the villages of Zoltaya Balka and Alexsandrovka.
Ukraine's advance in the south was also carried out while being able to maintain their defensive line in the east.
Is Russia losing its grip?
Ukraine’s southern offensive appears to be picking up pace and Russia does not control any of the four regions it lays claim to – a land grab officially ratified by the Kremlin on Monday.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily video address on Monday evening that "inhabited areas in several regions" had been liberated, without giving further details except that "The fighting is intense in several sectors of the front."
- Zelenskyy: Lyman freed from Russian troops
- Russia formally annexes four Ukrainian regions in 'dangerous escalation'
- Strength of Ukrainian forces extends beyond Lyman, says Zelenskyy
Russia’s considerable losses in the south follow a retreat over the weekend from the town of Lyman, in the eastern region of Donetsk.
Reuters reports that columns of Ukrainian military vehicles were heading to the railway hub of Lyman to reinforce their position. The retreat has also provoked the ire of Russian state media, who usually frame the Kremlin’s offensive as an unstoppable force.