Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised what he called “good news” from the Kharkiv region, saying Ukrainian forces had recaptured some towns from Russian troops.
Zelenskyy singled out several Ukrainian units in his latest video address, praising “their bravery and heroism displayed during the execution of combat mission.”
He also said Ukrainian artillery had carried out successful strikes against Russian forces in southern Ukraine.
U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl told an event hosted by Defense News on Wednesday that Ukrainian forces are “making slow but meaningful progress.”
“I certainly think things are going better on the Ukrainian side right now in the south than is true on the Russian side,” Kahl said.
Britain’s defense ministry said Thursday that in Kherson Oblast, in southern Ukraine, Ukrainian forces probably destroyed a military pontoon bridge in the town of Darivka that Russian forces had used after a nearby bridge was damaged.
The ministry said by targeting crossing points, Ukraine’s military is slowing Russia’s ability to deploy troops and carry out resupply efforts from the east.
“The Darivka crossing is one of the main routes between the northern and southern sectors of Russia’s military presence along the Dnipro River. Ukraine’s systematic precision targeting of vulnerable crossing points likely continues to impose pressure on Russian forces as they attempt to contain Ukrainian attacks,” the ministry said.
Ukraine on Wednesday urged residents living in Russian-occupied areas near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to flee for their own safety.
“I appeal to the residents of the districts adjacent to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant … evacuate! Find a way to get to [Ukrainian] controlled territory,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on the Telegram messaging service.
In a separate post on Telegram, the exiled Ukrainian mayor of Enerhodar, the main town serving the plant, said it was under fire from Russian forces and the town had no electrical supply.
Both Moscow and Kyiv have for weeks accused each other of shelling the nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, risking a nuclear disaster akin to that at Ukraine’s Chernobyl plant in 1986.
On Tuesday, Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the continued attacks on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant are “unacceptable,” and he urged that a demilitarized area be created in and around the facility. Grossi and a team of IAEA inspectors visited the site last week.
“We are playing with fire, and something very, very catastrophic could take place,” Grossi warned during a video briefing to the U.N. Security Council. “This is why in our report we are proposing the establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone limited to the perimeter and the plant itself.”
But neither Moscow nor Kyiv immediately committed to the Grossi proposal, saying they needed to know more details.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.