The city of Kherson remains under total Russian control, four residents of the city told CNN, contrary to number of reports from other media outlets, citing a senior US defense official.
"Today [I] saw them with their guns at the market, possibly searching vegetables for buying," one resident said to CNN on Friday evening. "They lose only couple of villages, not towns."
CNN is not naming the resident over concerns for their security.
The US official told the outlets, including CNN, that "we’ve seen reports of resistance there in areas that were previously reported to be in Russian control."
"We can’t corroborate exactly who is in control of Kherson, but the point is, it doesn’t appear to be as solidly in Russian control as it was before," the official said. "We would argue that Kherson is actually contested territory again."
The assessment that the city of Kherson was contested was based in part on images and media reports from the city showing the Ukrainian flag draped from city hall, according to two other defense officials.
Previous CNN reporting confirmed that the Ukrainian military counteroffensive has reached the Kherson region's northernmost villages. A CNN crew in one of the northernmost villages in the Kherson region, earlier this week, witnessed the Ukrainian counteroffensive there.
Despite that, in the city of Kherson, the situation is unchanged.
Ukrainian forces have been able to launch attacks from the Mykolaiv region just to the north, into Kherson region, for over a week. While the residents of the city continue to hold large protests, the Russians remain firmly in control of it and much of the region at this time.
For example, residents in town draped a large Ukrainian flag on Thursday down the side of city hall.