August 18, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Heather Chen, Jack Guy, Ed Upright, Aditi Sangal and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 5:26 a.m. ET, August 19, 2022
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9:16 p.m. ET, August 17, 2022

Ukraine defense official suggests counteroffensive to retake territory may begin soon

From CNN's Oleksandra Ochman and Vasco Cotovio

A long-touted Ukrainian counteroffensive to retake territory lost to Russia could begin soon, a spokesperson for Ukraine's Defense Intelligence said in a televised address on Wednesday.

"In the near future, there will be very acute events on the entire front," said Andrii Yusov, a spokesperson for the Defense Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials have been hinting at a counteroffensive to retake occupied territory — specifically in the south — for weeks, but so far they’ve limited their actions to striking Russian supply lines, air bases and ammunition depots, with very small gains at the front. 

"This is not about binding to any dates, however, we have to consider [the] factor of the Independence Day of Ukraine," Yusov added, referencing the country’s independence day on Aug. 24. 

"The Main Directorate of Intelligence has been saying for a long time that August and September will be extremely important periods for the further development of events on the entire front."