Kiev, Sep 12 (UiTVIANS) The much-publicised Ukrainian southern offensive was a disinformation campaign to distract Russia from the real one being prepared in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine’s special forces have said, the media reported.
Ukrainian forces are continuing to make unexpected, rapid advances in the north-east of the country, retaking more than a third of the occupied Kharkiv region in three days, The Guardian reported.
Much of Ukraine’s territorial gains were confirmed by Russia’s defence ministry on Saturday.
“(It) was a big special disinformation operation,” said Taras Berezovets, a former national security adviser turned press officer for the Bohun brigade of Ukraine’s special forces, The Guardian reported.
“(Russia) thought it would be in the south and moved their equipment. Then, instead of the south, the offensive happened where they least expected, and this caused them to panic and flee.”
On August 29, Ukraine’s southern command announced that the long-anticipated offensive in the Kherson region had begun. But soldiers on the Kherson frontline said at the time that they saw no evidence of said offensive or that the active battles taking place were a reaction to an attempted Russian offensive several days earlier.
For the past two weeks, Ukrainian forces in the south took several villages — no small feat given the reported strength of Russian positions and one which nevertheless resulted in injuries.
But the gains were not remarkably different from the steady but limited progress Ukrainian forces had been making in the Kherson region over July and August.
And yet, the capture of tiny Kherson villages, with populations of a few thousands, suddenly became big international news, The Guardian reported.
Natalia Humeniuk, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern command, had insisted on a “regime of silence” and temporarily banned journalists from visiting the frontlines in Kherson.
But Berezovets said the media stir around the southern offensive was a coordinated disinformation campaign by Ukraine, targeted at Russian forces, that had been building for several months, The Guardian reported.