Russia-Ukraine War News LIVE Updates: Ukraine says more than 600 settlements liberated in past month
A flight of civilians from Kherson would be a major blow to Russia’s claim to have annexed around 15% of Ukraine’s territory and incorporated an area the size of Portugal into Russia.Russia has concentrated many of its best-trained troops to defend its grip on Kherson’s west bank. But that force can only be supplied across the river, which is several kilometres wide and has few crossings.In the past two weeks Ukraine has recaptured a swath of territory, with its forces bearing down towards the 3-km-long (2-mile-long) Nova Kakhovka dam that provides one of the last river crossings.Mykolaiv, the nearest big Ukrainian-held city to Kherson, came under massive Russian bombardment on Thursday, with civilian facilities hit, local officials said.Regional governor Vitaly Kim said the top two floors of a five-story residential building were destroyed and the rest were under rubble. Video footage provided by state emergency services showed rescuers pulling out an 11-year-old boy who Kim said had spent six hours trapped under the rubble.In the east, three Russian missiles exploded on Thursday morning near the central market in Kupiansk, a major railway junction city that Ukrainian forces recaptured during their big advance there in September.The missiles destroyed shops, carpeting surrounding streets with glass shards, rubble, and twisted metal sheets.Dmytro, who declined to give his last name, trudged up the debris-strewn steps of his shoe store to salvage whatever undamaged inventory he could from the devastated interior.”Who knows? They consider it a military object,” he said sarcastically when asked why he thought the Russians hit Kupiansk’s commercial centre.Ukraine’s gains in the south this month followed rapid gains in the east since September.