The Russia-appointed administrator of the Moscow-occupied Kherson region of southern Ukraine has stated that Ukrainian forces have broken through Russian lines in the area, reported news agency Reuters.
If confirmed, it would constitute the most serious setback for the Kremlin since Ukraine's lightning offensive in the east liberated more than 8,000 sq km of occupied territory.
"The information is tense, let's put it that way, because, yes there were indeed breakthroughs," Vladimir Saldo, head of the Kherson military–civilian administration in Russian-occupied Ukraine, told Russian state television.
"There's a settlement called Dudchany, right along the Dnipro River, and right there, in that region, there was a (Ukrainian) breakthrough. There are settlements that are occupied by Ukrainian forces," he said.
Earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine's forces have liberated two small settlements in the Kherson region.
The Ukrainian President mentioned the settlements when thanking specific units of the country's forces for distinguishing themselves on the frontline in his nightly address on Sunday.
On October 2, just two days after Russia's annexation of Kherson along with the Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk and Donetsk regions, and a day after Ukrainian forces recaptured the strategic Lyman railway junction, Ukrainian forces started the counteroffensive from the settlement of Osokorivka in the Kherson region, south of the Kherson-Dnipropetrovsk border and moved south along the west bank of the Dnieper and retook Zolota Balka and advanced further south to the next target, Dudchany.
The success came after Ukraine had launched a heavily flagged offensive to retake Kherson from Russian forces in September. Kherson city was the only regional capital that the Kremlin captured in the first few days of their invasion in February.
In the Kherson region, Ukraine's military objective is to cut off the 25,000 or so troops Moscow has deployed to the region from their supply lines, thereby trapping them on the Western side of the Dnipro river.
Ukrainian forces have already destroyed the main bridges across the Dnipro, forcing Russian forces to use pontoon bridges and barges to ferry supplies to their troops.
On September 24, US officials assessed that the Russian situation at the Kherson frontline was deteriorating, with the local troops suffering from poor morale and largely cut off from supply lines due to the loss of bridges across the Dnipro River.
Russian military commanders had reportedly requested to retreat to more defensible positions, but President Putin had intervened and forbidden any retreat which would give up Kherson city.
However, this did not come without significant costs: Ukrainian commanders and servicemen acknowledged suffering heavy losses during the Kherson offensive, mostly caused by lack of ammunition, strong Russian defenses and the role of Russian artillery.