Ukrainian officials have been tight-lipped about the scale of their counter-offensive in the south, but Russian military bloggers have described Ukrainian tanks advancing along the bank of the Dnipro river.

Kherson has been one of the toughest battlefields for the Ukrainians in the conflict that erupted on February 24.
Kherson has been one of the toughest battlefields for the Ukrainians in the conflict that erupted on February 24. (AFP)

At least two Russia-backed officials have admitted that Kiev's troops have made some gains in the southern Kherson region and taken control of some settlements in their counter-offensive.

Kirill Stremousov, a Russia-backed official in the region, said in a video statement on Monday that the Ukrainian forces “have broken through a little deeper”. 

However, he insisted that “everything is under control” and that Russia’s “defence system is working” in the strategic region.

"It's tense, let's put it that way," Vladimir Saldo, the Russia-backed head of Kherson region, said on state television.

"Where the Kakhovka (reservoir) is, there is a settlement called Dudchany...it is in this area that there is a breakthrough and there are settlements taken by Ukrainian troops," he said.

Dudchany, on the west bank of the Dnipro river, is about 40 kilometres (25 miles) downriver from where Russian troops had opposed Ukrainian forces a day earlier.

Russia formally moved to annex four Ukrainian territories last week, including Kherson region, but none are fully under the control of Moscow's forces and Ukraine continues to advance in the south.

Kherson has been one of the toughest battlefields for the Ukrainians, with slower progress when compared with Ukraine's breakout offensive around the country's second largest city of Kharkiv, in the northeast, that began last month.

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Battlefield gains

Ukrainian media outlets highlighted an image of Ukrainian troops displaying flags at a marker for the village of Khreshchenivka, which is in the same area of Kherson where troops apparently have broken through Russian lines.

Ukrainian officials have been tight-lipped about the scale of their counter-offensive in the south, but Russian military bloggers have described Ukrainian tanks advancing along the bank of the Dnipro river. They have increasingly acknowledged that Ukraine has superior manpower in the area.

Over the weekend, Ukraine took back full control of a strategic northeastern city in a counteroffensive that has reshaped the conflict.

Russia’s loss of the eastern city of Lyman, which it had been using as a transport and logistics hub, was a new blow to the Kremlin as it seeks to escalate the offensive.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation move has threatened to push the conflict to a dangerous new level. It has also prompted Ukraine to formally apply for fast-track NATO membership

In his nightly address on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed the recent success in Lyman, a key Russian node for logistics on the front line in the northeast.

“The story of the liberation of Lyman in the Donetsk region has now become the most popular in the media — but the successes of our soldiers are not limited to Lyman,” Zelenskyy said.

Lyman, which Ukraine recaptured by encircling Russian troops, is in the Donetsk region near the border with Luhansk. Both are among the four regions that Russia annexed, alongside Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. 

In his broadcast, Zelenskyy thanked troops from his hometown near Kherson.

“To the soldiers of the 129th Brigade of my native Kryvy Rih, who distinguished themselves with good results and liberated, in particular, Arkhanhelske and Myroliubivka,” he said.

Those two villages are in the same area where Ukrainian troops have been making advances. A photo emerged at the weekend showing Ukrainian forces' operation southwest of Novovorontsovka on the banks of the Dnipro River.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies