Kyiv's army has broken through Russian lines in southern Ukraine, the general leading the counteroffensive there told US media this weekend, in the latest Ukrainian claims that it is making progress in the Zaporizhzhia area. 

Ukraine launched its counteroffensive to claw back territory from Russian forces in June. 

Progress has been slower than expected, with heavily mined territory, but Kyiv has in recent weeks reported making strategic advances in the Zaporizhzhia region. 

"On the left flank (near the village of Verbove) we have a breakthrough and we continue to advance further," general Oleksandr Tarnavskiy told CNN. 

He acknowledged the advance had been slower than Ukraine hoped.  

"Not as fast as it was excepted, not like in the movies about the Second World War," he said in the CNN interview. 

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But he said it was important "not to lose this initiative." 

Last month Kyiv declared a strategic victory when it recaptured the southern village of Robotyne. 

Tarnavskiy said a major breakthrough for the counteroffensive would be if Kyiv recaptured the city of Tokmak -- some 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the front line -- which fell to Russian forces at the start of their invasion. 

Retaking Tokmak would allow Ukrainian forces to push further towards occupied Melitopol and annexed Crimea. 

"I think it (a breakthrough) would happen after Tokmak," he said, but warned:

"At the moment (Russian forces) are relying on the depth of their defensive line there."

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Calls have been mounting to find ways to support Kyiv's war effort by tapping the bank accounts, investments and other assets frozen after Russia invaded its neighbour in 2022.

Tarnavskiy disagreed with some predictions that Ukraine's push could be further slowed by the upcoming winter months.

"The weather can be a serious obstacle during advance, but considering how we move forward, mostly without vehicles, I don't think (it) will heavily influence the counteroffensive," he said. 

He gave some insight into the type of fighting taking place in the south, 19 months into Moscow's invasion: 

"Right now, neither the enemy nor us uses large formations, companies, battalions or brigades. We use assault squads, groups of 10 to 15 men," he said. 

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"They conduct titanic work of concentrating enemy fire on them and using all the means they have to use to survive." 

The interview was published a day after Kyiv struck Russia's Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Crimea, claiming to have killed "senior" commanders. 

Tarnavskiy said the counteroffensive's success depends not only on what happens on the front, but also "destroying command centres" that create "a mess on the battlefield." 

He added that strikes on Crimea improved morale for Ukrainian troops: "It helps us but it also gives us hope for the future."

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Comments (2)

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Dave
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Maddy, you love Pootie Cakes more than lying Donald Trump.

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Send Down the Heroes
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Through the long cold wet winter, through summers hot sun, the Heroes stood tall without fear. They stood there for country, for family and friends, they held strong when the enemy was near! Altho the shells they did burst, and the bombs they did roar, with courage and strength they did stand, until forever and ever we will sing to their praise, that brave and indomitable band. Then their Fathers before them looked down from the skies, and with Pride and with Honor they came, down to stand by their sons, there with their greatness and fame, and with courage they did stand by their guns. There are Heroes untold that are just past your eyes, that will put the invaders to shame, Go fearlesly go out, and uphold your good name, you have help from the masters of the skies. So heres to the Heroes of Yellow and Blue, with courage, and valor, and pride, God bless and keep you, forever and aye, and send down the Heroes in a tide!

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