The Ukrainian army has grown increasingly more confident in recent weeks, since the delivery of US HIMARS. The precision artillery weapon has allowed Ukrainian commanders to target Russian supply lines, ammunition dumps and command posts far behind enemy front lines. The HIMARS along with other Western-supplied heavy artillery weapons have allowed Kyiv to regain the initiative in the gruelling war.
Russia’s advance in the Donbas has been practically halted, while Ukraine’s army prepares for an anticipated major counteroffensive in Kherson province.
Kyiv’s army has stepped up artillery strikes in the region, striking fear and panic into Russian commanders and their troops.
Sensing that the game could be up, Russian commanders are reported to have deserted their troops as they scramble to get themselves and their families to safety.
The Flash news company tweeted: “Commanders of the Russian Federation are fleeing en masse from the Kherson region.”
The Kakhovka Operational Group of Troops claimed that the Russian officers were from the elite units of the 83rd and 11th Guards Air Assault Brigades.
In a statement on their Facebook page, they wrote: “The Armed Forces of Ukraine have regained the initiative for their own benefit and it will only be worse for Russia.
“Because of this, there is currently a mass escape of Russian commanders in the Kherson direction.
“It is known that the commanders of the ‘famous’ 83rd and 11th Guards Air Assault Brigades, together with their families, are gradually moving to the right bank of the Dnipro to a safer place.”
The command group also claimed that its forces had made a major breakthrough against the Russians overnight on Sunday.
They said Ukrainian military units had launched a counterattack on the right bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region last night.
As a result, the 109th regiment of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) was forced to retreat from its defensive positions, allowing Ukrainian army units to capture several settlements and advance further into Kherson province.
The Kakhovka operational command said: “The 109th Regiment of the DPR withdrew from their positions in the Kherson region.
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Experts from the agency will assess the plant for any physical damage, as well as determine the functionality of safety and security systems.
Fears have been growing that fighting in the vicinity of the plant may lead to a serious leakage of radioactive gas.
A top Putin diplomat told Russian media the visit would provide an opportunity to dispel misconceptions about the plant’s condition.
Mikhail Ulyanov said: “Russia has made a significant contribution to the preparation of this mission.
“We hope that the visit of the plant by the IAEA mission will dispel numerous speculations about the unfavourable state of affairs at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.”