This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has urged Russian troops to flee from an offensive launched by his forces near the strategic southern city of Kherson occupied by Moscow since early in the war, saying Ukraine’s military were taking back their territory.
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Speaking in his nightly address late on August 29, Zelenskiy vowed that Ukrainian troops would chase the Russian Army “to the border.”
“If they want to survive — it’s time for the Russian military to run away. Go home,” he said.
“Ukraine is taking back its own,” Zelenskiy said.
Earlier, presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in a video address that Ukrainian forces were shelling ferries that Russian forces were using to supply a section of Russian-occupied territory on the west bank of the Dnieper River in the Kherson region.
Ukraine’s presidency said on August 30 that there was “heavy fighting” in “almost the entire territory” of the Kherson region.
“Powerful explosions continued throughout the day and throughout the night in the Kherson region,” the president’s office said in a morning update.
In an intelligence note, Britain’s Defense Ministry said on August 30 that, although it was “not yet possible to confirm the extent of Ukrainian advances” its army had increased “artillery fire in front line sectors across southern Ukraine”.
It added that it was using “long-range precision strikes to disrupt Russian resupply” lines.
U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Ukraine’s move was already having an impact on Russian military capabilities as it forced them to reposition forces and deplete some units in the east.
“Because the Russians have had to pull resources from the east simply because of reports that the Ukrainians might be going more on the offence in the south,” Kirby told reporters on August 29.
The Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged that a Ukrainian offensive had been launched, but it insisted it had failed, with its forces inflicting heavy Ukrainian casualties.
The claims could not be verified independently.
Russian shelling of the port city of Mykolayiv, which has remained under Ukrainian control despite repeated Russian bombardments, killed at least two people, wounded 24, and wiped out homes, city officials and witnesses said.
Meanwhile, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were on route to inspect the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant in the south of Ukraine.
The team is meant to assess the damage to the facilities and determine the functionality of the main and backup safety and security systems, the IAEA said.
On the diplomatic front, EU Defense ministers are meeting in the Czech capital, Prague, on August 30 to hold talks focused on setting up a military training program for Ukrainian soldiers.