“Our guys are holding up,” says Lugansk official

For the first time, the Ukrainian military said Russian forces had started blowing up bridges to slow down a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the northeast.

In its latest operational update, the General Staff said on Saturday that in the Tsyrkuny and Rusky Tyshky region east of Kharkiv, “the occupiers blew up three road bridges in order to slow down countermeasures. defense force offensive.

CNN cannot independently verify the claim.

Over the past two weeks, Ukrainian troops have taken over a number of villages north and east of Kharkiv, making it more difficult for the Russians to use artillery against the city and threatening to interdict Russian supply lines for the forces fighting in Donetsk and Luhansk. .

A Ukrainian soldier stands guard at an undisclosed location in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 2. (Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Kharkiv is close to the Russian border and was one of the first cities to be attacked during the Russian invasion.

Calm in the Russian offensive: The General Staff said for the second day in a row that there had been little offensive action by Russian forces, but that artillery fire and aerial reconnaissance were continuing.

Some Ukrainian officials believe Russian units are taking a break before launching the next phase aimed at securing all of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Beyond these two areas, says the General Staff, the Russians continued to shell the southern city of Mykolaiv. North of the city, the Ukrainians claimed to have destroyed “an ammunition warehouse and up to 20 units of enemy military equipment”.

Russia’s Victory Day: Tensions are rising ahead of May 9, known as Russia’s “Victory Day”, marking Moscow’s victory over Nazi Germany. Western officials have warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin could officially declare war that day, allowing him to mobilize reserves and step up the Russian assault.

Ahead of the day, Russian forces occupying Ukraine’s Kherson region have increased checkpoints and patrols, the Ukrainian General Staff said.

The Russian-appointed deputy head of Kherson’s military administration, Kirill Stremousov, said Friday that residents would be allowed to have Russian passports. Also on Friday, a senior Russian official was in the area with the leader of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic.

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