There is “fierce fighting” on Ukraine’s southern front as Kyiv’s troops continue to probe Russian defenses, a Kremlin-backed official in the Zaporizhzhia region has told Russian state media.
“The Ukrainian Armed Forces are making new attempts to attack in different parts of the front. Our troops are doing everything possible to prevent a breakthrough deep into the defense line,” Vladimir Rogov told RIA Novosti.
Rogov – who described what was happening as a “counteroffensive by the Ukrainian Armed Forces” – warned in separate comments on Telegram: “Everything is just beginning."
The Ukrainians have “not yet engaged its main reserves” in the fight there, he said.
Kyiv has repeatedly said that the start of any large-scale counteroffensive will not be announced and has not commented on any moves on the southern front overnight.
In another Telegram post on Friday morning, Rogov claimed that Russian units had thwarted a Ukrainian attempt to push back Russian troops near Orikhiv, about 40 miles southeast of Zaporizhzhia.
CNN is unable to verify the battlefield account and there is little, if any, independent reporting from the front lines.
Russia’s ministry of defense reported heavy fighting in southern and eastern Ukraine in its update on Friday morning.