Russia advances towards two towns in Ukraine’s Zaporizhia region

Moscow’s forces are pushing towards two towns in Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhia region, where fighting intensified this week after several months of a stagnant front, Russian

state media has reported. Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-installed official in the region, said offensive actions were concentrated around two towns: Orikhiv, around 50km (30

miles) south of Ukrainian-controlled regional capital Zaporizhzhia, and Hulyaipole, further east. “The front is mobile, especially in two directions: Orikhiv and

Hulyaipole,” Rogov was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency. He said there was active fighting in those areas, according to the agency. “The initiative is

in our hands.” The Russian army later claimed for a second day in a row that it had taken “more advantageous lines and positions” after “offensive operations” in the

Zaporizhia region. It claimed to have hit Ukrainian positions in the village of Lezhyno, outside the regional capital of Zaporizhzhia, which has not fallen to Ukrainian

forces. Al Jazeera was not able to verify the reports. In its daily report on Sunday, the Ukrainian army said “more than 15 settlements were affected by artillery

fire” in Zaporizhia. Earlier this week, Rogov announced a “local offensive” around Orikhiv and said the Russian army had taken control of the village of Lobkove, near the

Dnieper River. He also said this week that fighting has “sharply increased” in the southern region. The front in southern Ukraine has been considerably quieter

recently than in the east, with Moscow withdrawing from the major city of Kherson in November.