Ukrainian officials say Russian forces are beginning to retreat from some areas where Ukraine has launched a counteroffensive.
The news comes as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed that his country’s forces will “chase them to the border” if they do not leave the occupied territory of Kherson.
The counteroffensive is a response to Russia’s recent military aggression in the region, which has seen Ukrainian troops come under fire from Russian-backed forces.
Speaking to NBC News, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command said that while the Russian withdrawal is not yet complete, it is “a good sign.”
President Zelenskyy echoed this sentiment in a statement released on Monday, saying that the counteroffensive is “already yielding results.”
“Our troops are pushing the occupiers back,” he said. “If they do not leave our territory immediately, we will chase them to the border.”
The Ukrainian president has also called on the international community to provide support for his country’s efforts to repel the Russian aggression.
“We need your help,” he said. “This is not just Ukraine’s fight.”
The latest developments come as tensions between Russia and Ukraine continue to escalate, with no end in sight to the conflict.
According to a senior Ukrainian official, Russia is deliberately attacking transportation routes to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is held by Russian forces.
The hallways are for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) members only as they ready themselves for an upcoming task at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant–commonly referred to as ZNPP–which is located in southern Ukraine.
The move comes as Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, announced that the country’s forces are beginning a counteroffensive against the Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country.
“Our troops are already starting to push the enemy back. We will not stop until we liberate every bit of Ukrainian land,” Zelenskyy said in a statement.
“We will chase them to the border and make them pay for their aggression.”
The Zaporizhzhia NPP is one of the largest nuclear power plants in Europe and provides around 10% of Ukraine’s electricity.
It has been the focus of international attention since Russia began its military intervention in Ukraine in 2014, when it annexed the Crimean peninsula and then began supporting separatist rebels in the east of the country.
In December 2018, the plant’s director, Serhiy Bozhko, was killed in a car bomb attack that was widely blamed on Russia.
Last month, Zelenskyy announced that Ukraine would be withdrawing from the Russian-dominated Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iran nuclear deal, in response to what he said was Russia’s failure to comply with the terms of the agreement.
The withdrawal came after a series of escalating incidents between Ukraine and Russia, including the seizure of three Ukrainian navy ships by Russian forces in November 2018 and the shooting down of a Ukrainian military plane by a Russian-made missile in February this year.
The Zaporizhzhia NPP is located just 50 kilometers from the front line of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and there have been concerns that
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