CNN broke the story Sunday night that Ukrainian forces had begun “shaping” operations to prepare the battlefield.
“Shaping” refers to taking out strategic targets like command-and-control centers or ammunition depots.
On Monday, videos began surfacing online purportedly showing Ukrainian soldiers capturing Russian positions.
One video appeared to show dozens of what look to be Russian troops fleeing in a trench.
Ukraine’s former president, Petro Poroshenko, confirmed the start of the operation, but details about the exact location and nature of the counteroffensive aren’t being disclosed.
“This is the long-awaited counteroffensive operation,” Poroshenko told CNN. “It was started today at 7:00 a.m. (local time) with shelling and missile attacks.”
According to Ukraine’s intelligence officials, many of Russia’s battlefield tactical units are deploying far below full-strength. Some are reportedly operating at half their normal power.
In contrast, this counteroffensive is being called the largest concentration of Ukrainian troops armed with western weapons since the war began.
The counteroffensive was launched hours after the United Nations announced a team of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency would travel to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The ZNPP was captured by Russia and has served as a launch site for artillery and missile operations.