Ukraine claims progress in south, redoubles calls for Russians to surrender
By Marc Santora
The Ukrainian military claimed Monday that it had retaken more territory in the south and was reiterating calls for Russian units fighting west of the Dnieper River in the Kherson region to surrender.
As Ukraine makes advances in the northeast of the country, its military has been carrying out another campaign in the south. There, thousands of Russian soldiers west of the Dnieper River appear to be increasingly isolated as Ukrainian attacks erode Russian defenses and shell bridges over the river, cutting the Russians off from resupply.
Natalia Gumenyuk, a spokesperson for the southern command, told reporters Monday that Ukrainian forces in the area had liberated nearly 500 square kilometers, or about 193 square miles and have been urging Russian forces to lay down their weapons. She added that some Russians have already abandoned their positions or surrendered, but declined to offer details. The claim could not be independently verified.
“For quite a long time we engaged in a powerful information campaign by sending letters to them and communicating over the radio accurate information about how they can give up and get out of this,” she said.
The Ukrainian government has restricted access to journalists along the entire front line, and the situation in the south is particularly difficult to assess. Ukrainian soldiers fighting in Kherson have reported fierce battles in recent days.
Many Ukrainians hope that the rout of Moscow’s forces in parts of the northeast will ripple through Russian ranks and undermine morale all along the front. Since the start of the southern offensive, Ukrainians have expressed optimism that they could batter and isolate Russian forces enough to force their surrender, avoiding, where possible, head-to-head clashes with a well armed and dug-in enemy.
Part of that effort is psychological, a military tactic used throughout history.
Ukrainian officials Monday posted videos of Ukrainian soldiers using loudspeakers to call for Russian soldiers on the battlefield to lay down their weapons.
“Russian Ivan, surrender!” one soldier calls out in a video posted by an adviser to the Ukrainian interior ministry, Anton Gerashchenko. “We will protect you from the dictator Putin.”
The location and timing of the video could not be immediately determined.