Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said that his country’s troops are pressing ahead with advances against Russian forces after liberating more towns in a number of areas.
Zelenskiy gave no further details in announcing in his nightly video address that the “offensive movement of our army and all our defenders continued” on October 3.
But Ukrainian officials and a Russian-installed leader said Kyiv’s forces continued their advance in the south on October 3, recapturing several villages along the strategic Dnieper River, which bisects the country.
The Ukrainian military’s southern operational command said in a nightly update that its forces in the south destroyed 31 Russian tanks and one multiple-rocket launcher, without providing details of where the fighting occurred.
The account could not be independently confirmed.
“New population centers have been liberated in several regions. Fierce fighting continues in many areas of the front,” Zelenskiy said without specifying which settlements had been liberated.
He added that “more and more occupiers are trying to escape, more and more losses are being borne by the enemy army, and there is a growing understanding that Russia made a mistake by going to war against Ukraine.”
A day earlier Zelenskiy said its forces took full control of the strategic eastern city of Lyman in the Donetsk region.
The recapture of Lyman was the Ukrainian forces’ most significant battlefield gain in weeks and followed a counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region to the north that drove out Russian troops and stunned many observers.
The fall of Lyman was also the latest setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, coming one day after he proclaimed the illegal annexation of Donetsk and three other Ukrainian regions that have been partly occupied by Russian forces for months now.
Kyiv and the West have condemned the annexation declaration as illegal and a sham.
Serhiy Cherevatiy, a spokesman for the Eastern Group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said Ukrainian troops went on to liberate the settlement of Torske near Lyman on October 3.
In the south, Vladimir Saldo, the Russia-installed leader in occupied parts of Ukraine’s Kherson province, told Russian state television that Ukrainian troops recaptured the town of Dudchany along the west bank of the Dnieper River.
“There are settlements that are occupied by Ukrainian forces,” Saldo said.
Dudchany is located some 30 kilometers south of where the front stood before the Ukrainian breakthrough on October 3, indicating the fastest advance of the war in the south.
Russian military bloggers earlier on October 3 described a Ukrainian tank advance through dozens of kilometers of territory along the western bank of the Dnieper.
A senior U.S. military official said on October 3 that the attacks by Ukrainian forces have forced Russia into a “defensive crouch” in Kherson, hampering Russian efforts to resupply their front line troops.
Meanwhile, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported in an update early on October 4 that, over the past several days, Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks on several settlements in Donetsk and one in Ternovy Pody, just north of the city of Kherson.
The General Staff’s communique also said that Ukrainian forces destroyed three Russian anti-aircraft missile systems and two drones. The news could not be independently confirmed.
As Ukrainian forces pressed their counterattacks in the east and the south, the Russian military launched more missile strikes at Ukrainian cities on October 3.
Several Russian missiles hit Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv, causing damage to its infrastructure and power cuts. Kharkiv Governor Oleh Syniehubov said one person was killed and at least two others, including a 9-year-old girl, were wounded.
Four civilians were wounded when Russian missiles struck the city of Nikopol in southern Ukraine.
U.S. officials on October 3 said Washington will soon deliver to Ukraine four more advanced rocket systems. The High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, known as HIMARS, have been credited with helping the country’s military gain momentum in the war.
HIMARS have been used to strike bridges that Russia has used to supply its troops. The additional four HIMARS will be part of a new $625 million package of aid expected to be announced on October 4, according to the U.S. officials, who were quoted in U.S. media reports.
The decision marks the first time that the United States has sent more HIMARS to Ukraine since late July, and it will bring the total number delivered so far to 20.