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According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Ukrainian forces are notably advancing in the ongoing counteroffensive operation, reclaiming over half the territory initially seized by Russian forces since February 2022.

In a recent press conference held in Ukraine, Blinken expressed optimism, noting a significant acceleration in progress over recent weeks. This sentiment aligns with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s analysis, emphasizing “real progress” and a heightened momentum in the counteroffensive endeavors.

Blinken highlighted substantial gains, including reclaiming the town of Robotyne, which has invigorated hopes for an easier breach through subsequent Russian defensive lines. The broader objective remains to approach the Sea of Azov, targeting strategic points, including Melitopol and Berdyansk along the coast, with immediate attention directed towards the ongoing operations around the key waypoint town of Tokmak.

In an interview with NBC News, Blinken acknowledged the Ukrainians were prepared for a “hard fight,” accentuating the “very tangible progress” and a “real forward movement” witnessed in the past fortnight.

In a separate address to the European Union Parliament, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg mirrored the hopeful perspective, stating Ukraine is “gradually gaining ground.” Stoltenberg acknowledged the challenging circumstances of the conflict while pointing to successful Ukrainian advancements through Russian defense lines. He acknowledged the grueling nature of the conflict, emphasizing that the Ukrainian forces are “moving forward” despite the formidable obstacles represented by the entrenched Russian forces shielded by anti-tank barriers and extensive minefields, particularly in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region.

Additional reported gains:
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar announced that the forces are progressively nearing the town of Novoprokopivka, yet facing stern resistance from Russian troops suffering heavy casualties. Despite Ukrainian affirmations of advancement, Russian military bloggers report persistent intense fighting around Robotyne, casting doubts on the Ukrainian forces’ success towards Novoprokopivka and Verbove.


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