A Ukrainian counteroffensive that has already recovered thousands of miles is crossing Russian lines in the southern region of Kherson recently annexed by Moscow, Kremlin-based officials said on Monday.
Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-chosen Kherson provincial leader, told state television that several settlements about 70 miles northeast of the city of Kherson, on the banks of the Dnieper, had been overrun.
“It’s tense, let’s put it that way,” Saldo said in a Reuters translation.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in his daily briefing that “with superior tank units…the enemy managed to penetrate the depths of our defence.” But Konashenkov said Russian troops retreated to a defensive position and “continued to inflict massive fire damage” on Kyiv forces.
Deputy head of regional administration Kirill Stremousov said Ukrainian forces “have broken through a bit deeper”, but wrote on Telegram that “everything is under control”.
Ukraine also reported making inroads in Luhansk province days after capturing the eastern strategic town of Lyman in Donetsk province, near the border with Luhansk.
►Ihor Murashov, chief executive of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia province, was released from Russian custody after being arrested outside the facility on Friday, according to Rafael Grossi, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
►Russian shelling of eight Ukrainian regions in the past 24 hours has killed two civilians and injured 14 others, the Ukrainian presidency announced on Monday.
►The Joint Expeditionary Force group of northern European countries will meet on Monday to discuss the safety of pipelines and undersea cables after explosions ruptured two gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, Britain’s Secretary of State said Defense, Ben Wallace.
Petraeus: US and NATO allies would ‘eliminate’ Russian forces if they use nuclear weapons
There’s one important fact to keep in mind amid the concern Russian President Vladimir Putin has raised with his nuclear threats: The United States and its allies would crush Russian forces, the former director of the CIA, David Petraeus.
The retired four-star general said that if Putin used nuclear weapons in Ukraine, the United States would lead a collective response with other NATO countries “that would eliminate all Russian conventional forces that we can see and identify. on the battlefield in Ukraine and also in the Crimea and all ships in the Black Sea.
Petraeus made the comments during a Sunday interview with ABC’s “This Week” in which he said Putin was not only losing the war, but “the battlefield reality he faces is, I believe, irreversible.” . He added: “There’s nothing he can do at this point…and the losses have been staggering.”
Petraeus noted that he had not spoken with US national security adviser Jake Sullivan, who revealed last week that the Biden administration had made it clear to Russians that they would face “catastrophic consequences”. used nuclear weapons against Ukraine.
Even though Ukraine is not a member of NATO, Petraeus said a Russian nuclear attack would be so “horrifying” that the United States and its allies would have no choice but to respond militarily.
“But it’s not expanding, it’s not — it’s not nuclear for nuclear. You don’t want, again, to get into a nuclear escalation here,” he said. “But you have to show that it can’t be accepted in any way.”
Russian parliament approves annexations
The lower house of the Russian parliament on Monday approved the accession treaties of four regions of Ukraine to Russia. The unanimous State Duma vote came days after President Vladimir Putin and the Russian-installed leaders of the four regions signed the treaties. The upper house is expected to follow suit on Tuesday. Ukraine, the United States and its Western allies have dismissed the annexations as having no legal validity.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said all Donetsk and Luhansk regions that make up Donbass would join Russia. He said the borders of the other two regions – Zaporizhzhia and Kherson – have not been determined.
Kremlin ignores criticism of leadership
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Chechnya regional leader’s criticism of Russian military leadership was emotionally driven. Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed leader of Chechnya, sharply criticized the Russian military command over the weekend, saying the Russian withdrawal from the eastern Ukrainian town of Lyman was the result incompetence and nepotism. Kadyrov wrote on Telegram that Russian military leader Colonel General Alexander Lapin should be sacked.
“If I had succeeded, I would have demoted Rabbit to private rank, deprived him of his rewards and sent him to the front line to wash away his shame with a rifle in hand,” Kadyrov wrote.
Kadyrov also called for the use of low-yield nuclear weapons in Ukraine to reverse the momentum of the war, which has been decidedly in Ukraine’s favor in recent weeks.
Contribute: The Associated Press