“Powerful explosions took place all day (Monday) and all night in the Kherson region. Heavy fighting is taking place on almost the entire territory of the region,” the presidency said in its morning briefing.
“Ukrainian army launched offensive actions in various directions,” she continued, claiming to have destroyed “a number of ammunition depots” and “all major bridges” that allow vehicles to cross the Dnieper River.
The Ukrainian counteroffensive is primarily aimed at retaking Kherson – a pre-conflict city of 280,000 inhabitants – from the Russians from the start of the war on February 24, according to local officials.
MP Sergei Khlan spoke on Ukrainian television of “powerful artillery attacks on enemy positions (…) throughout the territory of the occupied Kherson region”, at the gates of Crimea annexed by Moscow in March 2014.
Russia, for its part, claimed to have repelled Ukrainian “offensive attempts” in the regions of Kherson and Mykolaiv, in southern Ukraine.
“During the day … Ukrainian troops attempted an offensive in three directions, in the Mykolaiv and Kherson regions,” the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding that it “failed miserably” and “suffered heavy Ukrainian losses ” announced.
According to the “South” command of the Ukrainian army, the Russians bombarded Mykolaiv on Monday with 16 S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, which caused “considerable” damage to residential buildings and transport infrastructure. According to this source, two civilians were killed and 24 injured.
This information was not verifiable from independent sources.
“Ukraine is taking back what is hers and in the end will take back everything – the regions of Kharkiv, Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, Kherson, Crimea, the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov (…) “, said the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, hammered in his daily message on Monday evening.
Nor did the Russian bombing stop on the front line that runs from north to south.
In the center of Kharkiv (northeast), the second city of Ukraine, at least five people were killed in Russian bomb attacks, the mayor and the regional governor announced on Tuesday.
Governor of the Zaporizhia region (south) Oleksandre Staroukh announced at dawn on Tuesday that Russia had launched an attack with missiles against the city of the same name.
“According to initial information, there are no casualties. So far, no major damage to infrastructure has been identified,” he said.
It is in this region that experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are expected to inspect the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, which has been occupied by the Russians since the beginning of March and is at the center of all tensions.
The UN body sent a mission, led by its director-general Rafael Grossi, to Zaporizhia to visit the facilities “later this week”.
Mr. Grossi has been asking to go there for several months, warning of the “real risk of nuclear disaster” after a series of bombings for which the two belligerents have blamed each other.
Russia, accused by Kiev of placing artillery pieces on the site of the power plant, deemed this inspection “necessary,” according to the voice of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
The Ukrainian operator Energoatom nevertheless claimed that the Russian soldiers “put pressure on the staff of the plant to prevent them from revealing evidence of the occupiers’ crimes”.
The city hall of Zaporizhia said that since August 23, it has been distributing iodine tablets to the population within a radius of 50 km around the plant, to be taken in the event of a radiation warning.
As autumn approaches, a further step towards the drying up of Russian gas flows to France was taken on Tuesday with the announcement by the Engie group of a further reduction in supplies from the giant Gazprom.
Deliveries of Russian gas to French energy company Engie have already fallen significantly since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, recently falling to just 1.5 TWh (terawatt hours) per month.
For its part, Germany is “in a better position” to counter the threat of Russian gas, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said.