The Ukrainian General Staff yesterday celebrated the liberation of a new enclave -the fifth in recent days- northeast of Kharkiv, in the rapid counter-offensive that it is carrying out, not only to move Russian troops away from the city but, above all, , to try to cut the main supply line that runs from Belgorod, in Russia, and supplies the contingents fighting in the Donbass. The counter-offensive is indeed fast, and is approaching the Russian border, but President Zelensky has asked the population not to create "emotional pressure" on the armed forces hoping for quick victories.
On the southern front, however, nothing is certain. Posad-Prokovske is the last town south of Mikolaiv controlled by Ukrainian forces. It is a strategic position to stop the advance of Russian troops towards Odessa, the main port of the Black Sea. Days ago, a Russian general recalled that Moscow's intention is still to control the ports on the Black Sea. Your defense depends on this front.
The barking of dogs left to their own devices by their owners and explosions are the only things that interrupt the silence of Posad-Prokovske, less than 30 kilometers northwest of Kherson, the first Ukrainian city to fall under the control of Russian forces. . The village of Posad-Prokovske was recaptured by the Ukrainians in March, when they launched an offensive to stop the advance of Russian troops towards Mikolaiv. They have now pushed them back more than 40 kilometers. If this city of half a million inhabitants were lost, Ukraine's access to the sea would have been compromised. A fateful scenario for the Government of Kyiv, which since the beginning of the second phase of the war – when its attention was focused on the defense of the Donbass region – has witnessed Moscow once again targeting its forces towards Odessa. This time with aerial attacks.
“The difference is that we are the locals and they are the invaders. Many of them are unmotivated and do not want to fight man to man,” says Vitali, who has been fighting the Russians since 2014 in the Donbass region. He was 19 years old when he was on the front lines for the first time and is used to the behavior of the enemy. He says that when they arrived in Posad-Prokovske they entered the houses and stole some things. "When we returned we found everything inside destroyed, not because of the attacks but because they were destroying everything," says Vitali about the positions at the entrance to the town, now practically abandoned. Like the main road that leads from Mikolaiv to the port of Kherson.
Only a few people have decided to stay in their homes, as in other towns in the north of Kherson province that have chosen to stay. Many have even learned by getting used to the bombing, like Natalia, who says that she stayed because she doesn't want to lose her house. When an explosion is heard, she doesn't flinch. "It's our daily life," she says.
In Jersón capital that war that Natalia witnesses does not exist. The Russians try to impose their rules on the population. Of 290,000 inhabitants, around 40% currently remain in the city, and many others are reportedly trying to escape despite the fact that the Russian army appears to have closed access roads to the city. Many have launched protest campaigns against the new government imposed by the Russians, who began introducing the ruble as their official currency on May 1. The Russian news agency Tass yesterday quoted a source from the Kherson civil-military administration as saying that by the end of the year it plans to ask President Vladimir Putin to incorporate it into Russia.