Ukraine's counter-offensive has begun – reporter

Ukraine has reportedly launched its long-awaited counteroffensive by attacking Russian positions in the Donbass, a Russian reporter has said

Ukraine's counter-offensive has begun – reporter

Ukraine's counter-offensive has begun – reporter

Kiev's troops have struck Russian positions north-west of the city of Artyomovsk in the Donbass, according to sources

Ukrainian forces have breached Russian defenses north-west of the city of Artyomovsk in the Donbass, Russian war correspondent, Evgeny Poddubny reported on Thursday evening. He believes it's the start of Kiev's much-touted spring offensive.

Attackers appear to have launched a series of simultaneous strikes north and south of Artyomovsk, also known as Bakhmut, several other Russian war reporters added. The city has been the scene of intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops for months.

In addition, Kiev's troops have reportedly used tanks to strike the city of Soledar. Located northeast of Artyomovosk, it was captured by Russian troops after heavy fighting in January.

Meanwhile, in the southern Zaporozhye region, Kiev's troops reportedly attacked Russian positions near the city of Guliay-Pole seeking to break through the Russian forces’ first defense line, Poddubny said.

A large columns of heavy military equipment was also allegedly spotted moving towards the Ukrainian border with Russia’s Belgorod Region in the northeast. The Russian media also reported that a large number of landing boats were spotted near a bank of the Dnieper River controlled by Ukraine.

Kiev has so far not commented on the reports. Earlier on Thursday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed Kiev still needed more time to prepare before the attack. The nation’s troops were generally “ready” for the operation, he told the western media, adding, however, that the cost of the offensive would likely be too high now.

“We can go forward, and, I think, be successful,” Zelensky said. “But we’d lose a lot of people. I think that’s unacceptable. So we need to wait,” he added.

The Russian Defense Ministry has also not commented on the reports of the alleged Ukrainian counteroffensive.

The long-awaited counter-offensive was originally expected to start in the spring – even as early as late winter – but has been repeatedly postponed by Kiev, which cited unfavorable weather conditions and the need to stockpile more western weapons and equipment before the operation.

Earlier this week, German Armed Forces chief, General Carsten Breuer, also said that the conditions for a massive operation in Ukraine were “not in place”.