A senior Ukrainian official said that the Ukrainian military has recaptured 2,400 square kilometers of territory in the Kherson region of the country since the beginning of the full-scale war.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the president's office said six settlements had been liberated in the Kherson district and 61 in the Beryslav district.
Tymoshenko said the evacuation of civilians continued amid massive destruction of critical infrastructure in towns like Osokorivka, Vysokopillia and Arkhanhelske, all of which saw weeks of heavy fighting and indirect fire. He said that the process of demining is in progress.
Ukrainian forces have made steady progress in Kherson since beginning an offensive at the end of last month, and their successes have sparked rare criticism of Moscow's war effort among pro-Russian figures.
On Thursday, Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-appointed deputy leader of occupied Kherson, blamed gaps on the battlefield in the Kherson region for incompetent commanders. Many say that the Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu, who allowed this situation to happen, could, as an officer, shoot himself. The word officer is an unfamiliar word for many, Stremousov said in a video posted on Telegram.
Stremousov's comments come as Kyiv is successfully pushing ahead in its campaign to retake parts of southern and eastern Ukraine that Russia captured in the initial weeks of the war.
Pro-Russian propagandists and military analysts blamed the string of losses on what they see as errors by the Russian military, but few Russian-installed officials on Ukrainian soil have publicly skewered Moscow's flailing war effort.
Members of Russia's parliament and regional officials have begun to level similar criticism at the country's military, alleging that insufficient troops were deployed to hold parts of eastern and southern Ukraine that Moscow s forces captured in the initial weeks of the conflict.
Col. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, head of Russia's State Duma defense committee, said Thursday officials needed to stop lying about developments on the ground.
Kartapolov said in an interview with a Russian journalist that our people are not stupid.
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised his forces counteroffensive in his evening address on Tuesday.
In his evening address, Zelensky said that the Ukrainian army is making a very powerful advance in the south of the country in the course of the ongoing defensive operation.
It is only a matter of time when we will expel the occupier from our land.