The Ukrainian army, emboldened by deliveries of Western-supplied long-range artillery, has been clawing back territory in the Kherson region in recent weeks.

Russia's offensive has killed thousands, displaced millions and flattened cities, particularly in areas in the east and southeast of Ukraine.
Russia's offensive has killed thousands, displaced millions and flattened cities, particularly in areas in the east and southeast of Ukraine. (AFP)

A Ukrainian official has said the country's southern region of Kherson, which fell to Russian troops early in their February offensive, will be recaptured by September as the conflict enters its sixth month.

"We can say that the Kherson region will definitely be liberated by September, and all the occupiers' plans will fail," Sergiy Khlan, an aide to the head of Kherson region, said in an interview with Ukrainian television.

The Ukrainian army, emboldened by deliveries of Western-supplied long-range artillery, has been clawing back territory in the Kherson region in recent weeks.

"We can say that a turning point has occurred on the battlefield. We see that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are prevailing in their most recent military operations," Khlan said.

"We see that our armed forces are advancing openly. We can say that we are switching from defensive to counteroffensive actions," he added.

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'Precision artillery strikes'

He said Ukrainian strikes on two key bridges in the region, as well as attacks on Russian arms depots and command posts were part of preparatory work for a ground offensive.

"Now the key issue is getting more precision artillery strikes on the frontline to knock out the orcs (Russians) from their current positions."

He added that Russian forces had not repaired the damaged Antonivka bridge and were experiencing difficulties as a result of moving heavy weapons towards Kherson city.

Russian forces seized the region's main city, also called Kherson, on March 3. It was the first major city to fall following the start of Moscow's military operation in Ukraine in late February.

The region, important for Ukrainian agriculture, lies next to the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.

Across Ukraine, there was no let-up in fighting, which erupted after Russian forces sent troops into the country on February 24.  

The Ukrainian military reported Russian shelling in the north, south and east, and again referred to Russian operations paving the way for an assault on Bakhmut in the eastern Donbass region.

The military said in a Sunday evening briefing note that the Russians continue efforts to assert control of the area around the Vuhlehirsk power plant, which is 50 kilometres (31 miles) north-east of Donetsk.

The note also listed several dozen settlements along the entire front line which it said had been shelled by Russia in the past 24 hours.

Four Russian Kalibr cruise missiles fired from the Black Sea and aimed at the western Khmelnytskiy region were shot down on Sunday, the Ukrainian air command reported.

While the main theatre of combat has been the Donbass, Ukraine's military said its forces have moved within firing range of Russian targets in the occupied eastern Black Sea region of Kherson.

The reports could not be independently verified.

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