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Ukrainian counter-offensive breaks through Russian front lines at Kherson

August 31, 2022 1:05am

Updated: August 31, 2022 3:33pm

Ukraine’s armed forces broke through the first line of the Russian defense in the Kherson region on Tuesday, a feat military experts and Kyiv itself had expressed doubts about.

The stunning development is a reversal of the widely-accepted notion of Russia’s slow but inevitable advance west across its neighbor, reports The Spectator.

Kherson fell in the early days of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Pro-Russian separatists have been “racing” to permanently annex regions it has seized as Ukraine began planning its counter-offensive.

Ukrainian officials said that forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, formed by separatists in 2014, has been forced to retreat from its defensive positions in Kherson.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had vowed the day before that his forces would take back captured territory.

“If they want to survive – it’s time for the Russian military to run away. Go home,” he said in his nightly address on Monday.

Kyiv has attributed the achievement to HIMARS, an advanced precision missile system that outranges Russian artillery, which it has used to strike far behind Russia’s battle lines. These missiles have been used to destroy all large bridges connecting forces in Kherson with the rest of Russian forces in occupied territory, according to The Spectator.

The Biden administration had resisted Ukrainian requests for HIMARS over concerns could be used against targets in Russia, which may pull the United States into the conflict.

The Kremlin has campaigned aggressively against the advanced missile systems, which has crippled its supply lines since the Ukrainian military received them in the most recent U.S. military aid package.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said the Russian army would seize even more territory in Ukraine if the U.S. continued to supply them with HIMARS.

Former action star Steven Seagal, a long-time friend of Putin, claimed in a recent video that a mysterious explosion at a prison housing hundreds of Ukrainian POWs was caused by a HIMARS missile strike. Multiple experts have questioned the claim after examining photos from the ruined facility.