Ukraine seeks to retake the south, tying down Russian forces

FILE - A launch truck fires the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) at its intended target during the African Lion military exercise in Grier Labouihi complex, southern Morocco, on June 9, 2021. Ukraine has received about a dozen American-built HIMARS multiple rocket launchers and has used them to strike Russian ammunition depots, which are essential for maintaining Moscow's edge in firepower. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy, File)

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FILE - A launch truck fires the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) at its intended target during the African Lion military exercise in Grier Labouihi complex, southern Morocco, on June 9, 2021. Ukraine has received about a dozen American-built HIMARS multiple rocket launchers and has used them to strike Russian ammunition depots, which are essential for maintaining Moscow's edge in firepower. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy, File)

Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south

Even as Moscow's war machine crawls across Ukraine's east, trying to achieve the Kremlin's goal of securing full control over the country's industrial heartland, Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the Russian-occupied south.

The Ukrainians have used American-supplied rocket launchers to strike bridges and military infrastructure in the south, forcing Russia to divert its forces from the Donbas in the east to counter the new threat.

With the war in Ukraine now in its sixth month, the coming weeks may prove decisive.

While the bulk of Russian and Ukrainian military assets are conсentrated in the Donbas, the industrial region of mines and factories, both sides hope to make gains elsewhere.

Ukraine has vowed to drive the Russians from the territory they have seized since the start of the invasion, including the southern region of Kherson and part of the Zaporizhzhia region, while Moscow has pledged to hold on to the occupied areas and take more ground around the country.

The Donbas consists of Luhansk province, now fully controlled by Russia, and Donetsk province, about half of which is in Moscow’s hands.

Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov noted that by stepping up the attacks in the south, Kyiv has forced Russia to spread its forces.

“The Russian military command has been put before a dilemma: to try to press the offensive in the Donetsk region or build up defenses in the south,” Zhdanov said. “It's going to be difficult for them to perform both tasks simultaneously for a long time."

He noted that rather than trying to mount a massive, all-out counteroffensive, the Ukrainians have sought to undermine the Russian military in the south with a series of strikes on its munitions and fuel depots and other key sites.

“It doesn't have to be a head-on attack,” Zhdanov noted.

Moscow-backed local officials in Ukraine's east and south have talked about holding votes on joining Russia as early as September. Those plans hinge on Russia's ability to win full control of those areas by then.

“The Kremlin's chief goal is to force Kyiv to sit down for talks, secure the existing line of contact and hold referenda in the autumn,” said Mykola Sunhurovsky, of the Razumkov Center, a Kyiv-based think tank.

He noted that Western weapons have boosted Ukraine's capabilities, allowing it to reach targets far behind the front lines with a high degree of precision.

Ukraine has received about a dozen American-built HIMARS multiple rocket launchers and has used them to strike Russian ammunition depots, which are essential for maintaining Moscow's edge in firepower. HIMARS systems have a range of 80 kilometers (50 miles), enabling the Ukrainians to hit the Russians from beyond the reach of most of the enemy's artillery.

“It's a serious advantage,” Sunhurovsky said. “The Ukrainians have started dealing precision strikes on Russian depots, command posts, railway stations and bridges, destroying logistical chains and undermining the Russian military capability.”

The Ukrainian strikes on munitions storage sites have caught the Russian army off guard, forcing it to move materiel to scattered locations farther from combat areas, lengthening supply lines, reducing the Russian edge in firepower and helping to slow Russia's offensive in the east.

“They’ve got to get everything out to smaller, more dispersed stockpiles,” said Justin Crump, a former British tank commander who heads Sibylline, a strategic advisory firm. “These are all real irritants that slow Russia down. They've suffered the hit to the tempo of artillery fire, which was really key before."

Crump said the Russian military had underestimated the threat posed by HIMARS and had left their ammunition depots exposed in known locations. “They thought their air defense would shoot down the missiles. And it didn’t really,” he said.

In a series of attacks that helped boost the country's morale, the Ukrainians repeatedly used HIMARS to strike a key bridge across the Dnieper River in the Kherson region, cutting traffic across it and raising potential supply problems for Russian forces in the area.

Zhdanov, the Ukrainian military analyst, described the bridge as the key link for supplying Russian forces on the right bank of the Dnieper.

Russia still can use a second crossing on the Dnieper to ferry supplies and reinforcements to its troops in Kherson, which lies just north of the Crimean Peninsula, seized by Russia in 2014. But Ukraine's strikes have shown Russia's vulnerability and weakened its hold on the region.

“The Russians have the river at their back. That’s not a great place to be defending,” Crump said. ”They can’t get supplies easily. The morale is probably quite low at this point on that side of the river."

He said Ukraine eventually may launch a massive counterattack involving large numbers of troops and weapons.

“That’s the opportunity for Ukraine, I think, to land a sort of more smashing blow on the Russians and push them back,” Crump said. “I think there’s more chance of that being tried here than we’ve seen at any other point.”

Crump noted that the mere prospect of a major Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south helped Kyiv by forcing the Russians to divert some of their forces from the main battleground in the east.

“That’s slowing down the Donbas offensive,” Crump said. “So even the threat of an offensive is actually succeeding for Ukraine at the moment.”

___

Danica Kirka in London and Yuras Karmanau in Tallinn, Estonia, contributed to this report.

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FILE - Russian troops walk in a destroyed part of the Illich Iron & Steel Works Metallurgical Plant in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, on May 18, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - Russian troops walk in a destroyed part of the Illich Iron & Steel Works Metallurgical Plant in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, on May 18, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - Russian troops walk in a destroyed part of the Illich Iron & Steel Works Metallurgical Plant in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, on May 18, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - Ukrainian soldiers fire at Russian positions from a U.S.-supplied M777 howitzer in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region on June 18, 2022. Even as Russian troops slowly press their offensive across Ukraine's east, trying to achieve the Kremlin's goal of securing full control over the country's industrial heartland, Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the Russian-occupied south. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

Credit: Efrem Lukatsky

FILE - Ukrainian soldiers fire at Russian positions from a U.S.-supplied M777 howitzer in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region on June 18, 2022. Even as Russian troops slowly press their offensive across Ukraine's east, trying to achieve the Kremlin's goal of securing full control over the country's industrial heartland, Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the Russian-occupied south. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

Credit: Efrem Lukatsky

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FILE - Ukrainian soldiers fire at Russian positions from a U.S.-supplied M777 howitzer in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region on June 18, 2022. Even as Russian troops slowly press their offensive across Ukraine's east, trying to achieve the Kremlin's goal of securing full control over the country's industrial heartland, Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the Russian-occupied south. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

Credit: Efrem Lukatsky

Credit: Efrem Lukatsky

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FILE - A Russian serviceman guards in an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, on May 1, 2022. MEven as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - A Russian serviceman guards in an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, on  May 1, 2022. MEven as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - A Russian serviceman guards in an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, on May 1, 2022. MEven as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - A group of foreign journalists visit the Alchevsk Metallurgical Complex, on the territory which is under the Government of the Luhansk People's Republic control, eastern Ukraine, on June 11, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - A group of foreign journalists visit the Alchevsk Metallurgical Complex, on the territory which is under the Government of the Luhansk People's Republic control, eastern Ukraine, on June 11, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - A group of foreign journalists visit the Alchevsk Metallurgical Complex, on the territory which is under the Government of the Luhansk People's Republic control, eastern Ukraine, on June 11, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - A launch truck fires the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) produced by Lockheed Martin during combat training in the high desert of the Yakima Training Center, Washington on May 23, 2011. Ukraine has received about a dozen American-built HIMARS multiple rocket launchers and has used them to strike Russian ammunition depots, which are essential for maintaining Moscow's edge in firepower. (Tony Overman/The Olympian via AP, File)

Credit: Tony Overman

FILE - A launch truck fires the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) produced by Lockheed Martin during combat training in the high desert of the Yakima Training Center, Washington on May 23, 2011. Ukraine has received about a dozen American-built HIMARS multiple rocket launchers and has used them to strike Russian ammunition depots, which are essential for maintaining Moscow's edge in firepower. (Tony Overman/The Olympian via AP, File)

Credit: Tony Overman

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FILE - A launch truck fires the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) produced by Lockheed Martin during combat training in the high desert of the Yakima Training Center, Washington on May 23, 2011. Ukraine has received about a dozen American-built HIMARS multiple rocket launchers and has used them to strike Russian ammunition depots, which are essential for maintaining Moscow's edge in firepower. (Tony Overman/The Olympian via AP, File)

Credit: Tony Overman

Credit: Tony Overman

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FILE - A Russian soldier patrols an area at the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station, a run-of-river power plant on the Dnieper River in Kherson region, south Ukraine, on May 20, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - A Russian soldier patrols an area at the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station, a run-of-river power plant on the Dnieper River in Kherson region, south Ukraine, on May 20, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - A Russian soldier patrols an area at the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station, a run-of-river power plant on the Dnieper River in Kherson region, south Ukraine, on May 20, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - In this handout photo released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service released on June 1, 2022, The Russian military's Uragan multiple rocket launchers fire rockets at Ukrainian troops at an undisclosed location. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

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FILE - In this handout photo released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service released on  June 1, 2022, The Russian military's Uragan multiple rocket launchers fire rockets at Ukrainian troops at an undisclosed location. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

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FILE - In this handout photo released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service released on June 1, 2022, The Russian military's Uragan multiple rocket launchers fire rockets at Ukrainian troops at an undisclosed location. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

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FILE - Oleg flies a drone while testing it on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on June 8, 2022. Drones are been extensively used by Russian and Ukrainian troops on the war. Even as Russian troops slowly press their offensive across Ukraine's east, trying to achieve the Kremlin's goal of securing full control over the country's industrial heartland, Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the Russian-occupied south. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

Credit: Natacha Pisarenko

FILE - Oleg flies a drone while testing it on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on June 8, 2022. Drones are been extensively used by Russian and Ukrainian troops on the war. Even as Russian troops slowly press their offensive across Ukraine's east, trying to achieve the Kremlin's goal of securing full control over the country's industrial heartland, Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the Russian-occupied south. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

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FILE - Oleg flies a drone while testing it on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on June 8, 2022. Drones are been extensively used by Russian and Ukrainian troops on the war. Even as Russian troops slowly press their offensive across Ukraine's east, trying to achieve the Kremlin's goal of securing full control over the country's industrial heartland, Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the Russian-occupied south. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

Credit: Natacha Pisarenko

Credit: Natacha Pisarenko

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FILE - A Russian national flag flies over the Mariupol Sea Port which has recently started its work after heavy fighting in Mariupol, on the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control, eastern Ukraine, on June 12, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko

FILE - A Russian national flag flies over the Mariupol Sea Port which has recently started its work after heavy fighting in Mariupol, on the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control, eastern Ukraine, on June 12, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - A Russian national flag flies over the Mariupol Sea Port which has recently started its work after heavy fighting in Mariupol, on the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control, eastern Ukraine, on June 12, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko

Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko

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FILE - Russian soldiers patrol an area of the Metallurgical Combine Azovstal, in Mariupol, on the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control, eastern Ukraine, on June 13, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - Russian soldiers patrol an area of the Metallurgical Combine Azovstal, in Mariupol, on the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control, eastern Ukraine, on June 13, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - Russian soldiers patrol an area of the Metallurgical Combine Azovstal, in Mariupol, on the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control, eastern Ukraine, on June 13, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - A soldier of Ukraine's special operations unit lays a Germany-donated DM22 directional anti-tank mine on a forest road on the Russian troops' potential way in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on June 14, 2022. Even as Russian troops slowly press their offensive across Ukraine's east, trying to achieve the Kremlin's goal of securing full control over the country's industrial heartland, Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the Russian-occupied south. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

Credit: Efrem Lukatsky

FILE - A soldier of Ukraine's special operations unit lays a Germany-donated DM22 directional anti-tank mine on a forest road on the Russian troops' potential way in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on June 14, 2022. Even as Russian troops slowly press their offensive across Ukraine's east, trying to achieve the Kremlin's goal of securing full control over the country's industrial heartland, Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the Russian-occupied south. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

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FILE - A soldier of Ukraine's special operations unit lays a Germany-donated DM22 directional anti-tank mine on a forest road on the Russian troops' potential way in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on June 14, 2022. Even as Russian troops slowly press their offensive across Ukraine's east, trying to achieve the Kremlin's goal of securing full control over the country's industrial heartland, Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the Russian-occupied south. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

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FILE - A Russian military robotic vehicle detonates a land mine on a mine clearing mission along the high voltage line in Mariupol, on the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control, eastern Ukraine, on July 13, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - A Russian military robotic vehicle detonates a land mine on a mine clearing mission along the high voltage line in Mariupol, on the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control, eastern Ukraine, on July 13, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - A Russian military robotic vehicle detonates a land mine on a mine clearing mission along the high voltage line in Mariupol, on the territory which is under the Government of the Donetsk People's Republic control, eastern Ukraine, on July 13, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - In this handout photo by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service released on June 25, 2022, a Russian military's multiple rocket launcher fires rockets at Ukrainian troops at an undisclosed location. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

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FILE - In this handout photo by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service released on June 25, 2022, a Russian military's multiple rocket launcher fires rockets at Ukrainian troops at an undisclosed location. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

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FILE - In this handout photo by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service released on June 25, 2022, a Russian military's multiple rocket launcher fires rockets at Ukrainian troops at an undisclosed location. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

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FILE - In this handout photo released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on July 2, 2022, a Russian Su-25 ground attack jet fires rockets on a mission at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

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FILE - In this handout photo released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on  July 2, 2022, a Russian Su-25 ground attack jet fires rockets on a mission at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

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FILE - In this handout photo released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on July 2, 2022, a Russian Su-25 ground attack jet fires rockets on a mission at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

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FILE - Marine Corps Sgt. Justin Russell, a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, section chief with Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marines looks out over a firing range at Fort Stewart, Ga. during a training exercise, on June 13, 2015. Ukraine has received about a dozen American-built HIMARS multiple rocket launchers and has used them to strike Russian ammunition depots, which are essential for maintaining Moscow's edge in firepower. (Corey Dickstein/Savannah Morning News via AP, File)

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FILE - Marine Corps Sgt. Justin Russell, a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, section chief with Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marines looks out over a firing range at Fort Stewart, Ga. during a training exercise, on June 13, 2015. Ukraine has received about a dozen American-built HIMARS multiple rocket launchers and has used them to strike Russian ammunition depots, which are essential for maintaining Moscow's edge in firepower. (Corey Dickstein/Savannah Morning News via AP, File)

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FILE - Marine Corps Sgt. Justin Russell, a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, section chief with Kilo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marines looks out over a firing range at Fort Stewart, Ga. during a training exercise, on June 13, 2015. Ukraine has received about a dozen American-built HIMARS multiple rocket launchers and has used them to strike Russian ammunition depots, which are essential for maintaining Moscow's edge in firepower. (Corey Dickstein/Savannah Morning News via AP, File)

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Credit: Corey Dickstein

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FILE - In this handout photo released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on July 22, 2022, Russian soldiers fire a 2S4 Tyulpan self-propelled heavy mortar from their position at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

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FILE - In this handout photo released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on July 22, 2022, Russian soldiers fire a 2S4 Tyulpan self-propelled heavy mortar from their position at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

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FILE - In this handout photo released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on July 22, 2022, Russian soldiers fire a 2S4 Tyulpan self-propelled heavy mortar from their position at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

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FILE - A Ukrainian self-propelled artillery shoots towards Russian forces at a frontline in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on July 27, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)

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FILE - A Ukrainian self-propelled artillery shoots towards Russian forces at a frontline in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on July 27, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)

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FILE - A Ukrainian self-propelled artillery shoots towards Russian forces at a frontline in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, on July 27, 2022. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)

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Credit: Evgeniy Maloletka

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FILE - In this handout photo taken from video and released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on July 30, 2022, Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

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FILE - In this handout photo taken from video and released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on July 30, 2022, Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

Credit: Uncredited

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FILE - In this handout photo taken from video and released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on July 30, 2022, Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

Combined ShapeCaption
FILE - In this handout photo taken from video and released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on July 30, 2022, Tanks of the 2nd Army Corps of the People's Militia of the Luhansk People's Republic are seen on a mission at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

Credit: Uncredited

FILE - In this handout photo taken from video and released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on July 30, 2022, Tanks of the 2nd Army Corps of the People's Militia of the Luhansk People's Republic are seen on a mission at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

Credit: Uncredited

Combined ShapeCaption
FILE - In this handout photo taken from video and released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on July 30, 2022, Tanks of the 2nd Army Corps of the People's Militia of the Luhansk People's Republic are seen on a mission at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Even as the Russian war machine crawls across Ukraine’s east, trying to achieve the Kremlin’s goal of securing a full control over the country’s industrial heartland of the Donbas, the Ukrainian forces are scaling up attacks to reclaim territory in the south. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited