Natalia Humeniuk, the spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Operational Command South, told Ukrainian media on Monday that troops “have started offensive actions in various directions,” specifically toward the city of Kherson, which is strategically located on the Dnieper River and the Black Sea. The counteroffensive has been anticipated for weeks.
She did not elaborate on specific targets the troops are looking to liberate, though she told CNN that more information will be provided “after the operation is fulfilled.”
Most of the fighting throughout the course of the summer has focused in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine, and Russia was able to make incremental gains, though at a disproportionately heavy expense. Ukrainian forces, however, have also begun targeting Russian supply lines to cut them off from their resources.
Most recently, the international community’s attention has been focused on the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia power plant, the largest in Europe, because both sides have accused the other of shelling the facilities in recent days. International Atomic Energy Agency investigators are expected to visit the facility later this week, according to CNN.
Last week, the war reached its six-month point, coinciding with Ukraine’s Independence Day. The Biden administration marked the occasion with a $3 billion military aid package that dwarfs previous packages and is designed with a long-term strategy in mind.
This aid, which comes from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, is meant to address long-term needs and represents “multiyear investments to build the enduring strength of Ukraine’s armed forces,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said in a statement last Wednesday.
The aid includes six additional National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, the ground-based air defense systems created by Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace and Raytheon that defend against unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles, with additional munitions included.