Russia continues to lose footing in Ukraine amid counteroffensives, and a recent update from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said its forces fought off Russian attacks in several regions, including Donetsk.
Last month, Ukrainian troops regained control of settlements in Donetsk and have continued to fend off Russian attacks despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deadline for taking more ground in the area. Even after Putin added soldiers and received support from Belarus and Iran, Ukrainian forces continue to regain territory.
One such area is Kherson. According to a report last week from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Russian authorities seem to be laying the groundwork to justify a planned retreat from Ukraine’s southern region of Kherson after several losses in the area. Kherson was the first Ukrainian region Russia controlled at the start of the war, but new reports are showing Russia losing its stronghold on the area.
The Kyiv Independent tweeted Wednesday afternoon that Ukraine is returning fire in Kherson, damaging key Russian resources.
“Ukrainian forces shoot down a Russian helicopter in Kherson Oblast. Russian Ka-52 attack helicopter was shot down in the Beryslavskyi district in Kherson Oblast at around 5 p.m. on Oct. 26, according to the ‘South’ Air Command,” the tweet said.
In a Wednesday Facebook update from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, officials said Russia continues to violate the International Humanitarian Law by hitting critical infrastructure and civilian housing.
“The enemy is firing at our troops’ positions along the line of encounter, carrying out fortification equipment in individual directions and conducting air reconnaissance,” the statement said.
The statement said Russia is attempting to strengthen its defense along the left bank of the Dnieper River.
“Russian expatriates restrict the right of free movement of civilians in temporarily occupied territories,” the statement said.
According to numerous reports, Russia has allegedly committed war crimes since shortly after the war started with the invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Russia attacked a hospital and a theater in Mariupol in April, and mass graves have been discovered containing the bodies of Ukrainian civilians, even those of children. Government officials around the world, including U.S. President Joe Biden, have accused Russia of committing genocide.
Despite previous assurances from Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus seems to be increasing its aid to Russia. Independent Belarusian media outlets have reported covert mobilization in Belarus, although Lukashenko said the actions were for training. Russia has used Belarus as an avenue to funnel troops and missiles into Ukraine, but Belarus has not directly contributed to strikes against Ukraine.
The Ukrainian military remains alert to potential activity sourced from Belarus, its northern neighbor.
“The Republic of Belarus continues to support the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” the statement said. “The threat of the task of missile strikes and the activity of Udnih Bpla from the territory of the Republic of Belarus remains.”
The statement also said that Ukraine repelled attacks on 11 settlements in Donetsk.
“According to the General Staff’s recent update, Ukrainian forces also hit 3 Russian military command points, 6 spots with Russian troops and military equipment, and 2 ammunition depots,” the Kyiv Independent tweeted.
Newsweek reached out to several war experts for comment.