Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, warned residents of occupied Ukrainian territory to prepare bomb shelters immediately and expect a series of military strikes. The news comes after military officials announced the largest counter-offensive in southeastern Ukraine since February, a move that took Russia by surprise.
Writing on Twitter, Podolyak told residents of Russian-occupied territories, including Crimea, should prepare for bombardment immediately. He also advised people to charge their batteries and stock up on key supplies.
“We ask residents of occupied territories, including the Crimean peninsula, to follow the officials’ recommendations during de-occupation measures. In particular, to prepare a bomb shelter, stock up on a sufficient amount of water and charge the powerbanks. Everything will be Ukraine,” Podolyak said.
The inclusion of Crimea is significant as the territory was claimed by Russia in 2014 when the country’s military illegally annexed the peninsula and justified the decision by holding flawed and unofficial referendums. Podolyak’s announcement also comes after pro-Kyiv saboteurs caused chaos on the peninsula, using explosives to destroy Russian aircraft and military equipment on airbases and military facilities in recent weeks.
Ukraine Makes Progress
The news comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed in his Sunday night address that Ukrainian forces had successfully reclaimed three previously Russian-occupied villages in the south and east.
Over the weekend, Ukrainian officials also shared a photograph of Ukrainian soldiers fixing a flag to a flagpole on a rooftop in the village of Vysokopllya.
The flag was raised over Vysokopillya. pic.twitter.com/EWLbzLeZBg
— KyivPost (@KyivPost) September 4, 2022
Washington, D.C.-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War said recently that Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the Kherson region is already proving effective, despite Ukrainian officials calling for people to manage their expectations and expect “slow” progress.
“The Ukrainian counteroffensive is making verifiable progress in the south and the east,” the think tank noted.
“The pace of the counteroffensive will likely change dramatically from day to day as Ukrainian forces work to starve the Russians of necessary supplies, disrupt their command and control, and weaken their morale even as counteroffensive ground assaults continue.”
The Economist also reported how Ukraine is losing fewer soldiers in the counteroffensive than Russia has claimed.
It’s positive news for Ukraine, not just in the short term but potentially even in the long term. With Russia facing a weapons shortage that could last until the end of the year, and unable to build advanced weapons in part because of international sanctions against the country, Ukraine has the support and the time it needs to take back control of occupied territory and maintain that control in the future.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.