The counter-offensive is underway. Eastern Ukraine is now partly under Russian control. Kiev lost control of most of the Kherson region near the Black Sea in the first weeks after the February 24 Russian invasion. But new villages are gradually being liberated in the southern regions. The Ukrainians advance between Kherson, Mykolaiv and towards Zaporijia.

Ukraine then announced that it had hit Russian forces in the occupied Kherson region on the night of Monday to Tuesday 12 July. According to Ukrainian military officials, the strike killed 52 Russian soldiers and destroyed “a warehouse with ammunition“In Nova Kakhovka. For their part, the Russian occupation authorities accuse him of having touched houses. The head of the administration established in this locality by the Russian forces, Vladimir Leontiev, denounced a”act of terrorism” And “a terrible tragedy“, claiming that”there is no military target here“.”There are already seven dead and around 60 injured“, In his opinion.

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The Ukrainians are determined to retake Kherson, as confirmed to franceinfo by commander Nazar Bogdanovic, who leads a battalion. Since Monday 11 July he has invited the inhabitants to leave as soon as possible or, if they cannot, to take refuge in anticipation of fierce fighting.

“I can’t tell you exactly when, but we will free Kherson and it is absolutely necessary that the inhabitants of these territories listen to this message to stay alive.”

Commander Nazar Bogdanovic


The Ukrainian army therefore warns its own population of the risks it runs and that the Russians will be able to use it as a human shield. However, in Kherson, where the Russian flag has been flying for more than four months, residents cannot afford to leave.

This is the case of the Paranka family, who live on a small, quiet-looking farm located 20 kilometers from the front. “The army has to do its job but it’s not that simple. For example, I have three sisters in Kherson and I assure you that it will be impossible for them to leave the city“, Paranka regrets. In question: the money, which is missing. Furthermore, Paranka is worried: she has not been able to reach them for two months.

Parenka lives on a small farm 20 kilometers from the front.  (VALENTIN DUATE / RADIO FRANCE)

The challenge for the Ukrainian authorities is to pass on information that a counter-offensive is imminent. However, the Internet networks are always officially in the hands of the Russians in these occupied territories.

Ivan Fedorov, mayor of Melitopol, a pre-conflict city of 150,000, located in southern Ukraine and in Zaporijjia oblast, they distribute manuals to inhabitants to help them install virtual private networks (VPNs), which allow them to bypass Russian censorship. “In this way, they have access to Ukrainian social networks“says Ivan Fedorov.”In these territories, Russian propaganda wants to block information and make the population believe that Ukraine is forgetting it and will not return to the occupied territories“Says the mayor.

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