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Ukraine says Russia creating strike force aimed at Zelenskey's hometown
From left: US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meet on April 24, 2022 in Kyiv (Photo: Arab News via US Department of Defense via AFP)

Ukraine said on Wednesday (August 3) that Russia had started creating a military strike force aimed at President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's hometown of Kryvyi Rih and warned that Moscow could be preparing new offensive operations in southern Ukraine, the US news reported, citing Reuters.

Russia holds swathes of Ukraine's south that it captured in the early phases of its Feb. 24 invasion, but Kyiv has said it will mount a counter-offensive. It said on Tuesday it had already recaptured 53 villages in occupied Kherson region.

In its regular update on the war in the south, Ukraine's southern military command described the situation as tense and said Russia attacked along the frontline on Aug. 2.

The steel-producing city of Kryvyi Rih where Zelenskiy grew up lies around 50 km (30 miles) from the southern frontline.

The southern military command said: "(Russia) has begun creating a strike group in the Kryvyi Rih direction. It's also quite likely that the enemy is preparing a hostile counter-offensive with the subsequent plan of getting to the administrative boundary of Kherson region.”

Only totally insane terrorists, who should have no place on earth, can strike missiles at civilian objects. And these are not off-target missile strikes at kindergartens, schools, shopping malls, apartment buildings, these are calculated strikes of the invaders. Russia must be recognized as a state - sponsor of terrorism. The world can and therefore must stop Russian terror - Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukraine has been trying to ratchet up pressure on Russia's positions in the strategically important Black Sea region of Kherson and has used Western-supplied long-range weapons to conduct strikes on Russian supply lines and ammunition dumps.

Ukraine's military said in a statement that Russian forces were scoping out basements in the region to turn them into bomb shelters to store military hardware.

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Late on Tuesday (August 2), Zelensky described the fighting on parts of the eastern frontline in the heavily industrialised Donbas as "just hell" in his nightly address to the nation.

Russia has not claimed any major territorial gains in its invasion since it claimed to have captured Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region around a month ago.

But on Tuesday Ukraine's military command acknowledged that Russia had had "partial success" in the "Donetsk-Pisky direction" around the city of Donetsk that is held by Russia and Russian-backed separatists.

Source: usnews