Oct 4, 2022 - World

Zelensky pledges fair treatment for Ukrainians in reclaimed territory

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks to journalists during a joint press conference on September 15, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking at a September press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo: Yevhenii Zavhorodnii/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

Ukrainian forces are making key counteroffensive gains in southern and eastern Ukraine — including in regions Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed to have annexed, according to multiple reports.

The big picture: Russia's lower house of Parliament voted Monday to ratify the annexation of Ukraine's Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk regions and the upper house was set to follow suit Tuesday. But Russian forces no longer have full control of any of those regions.

Driving the news: Ukraine's military saw its most significant gain in the south since the war began, reclaiming the town of Dudchany and several villages along the key Dnipro River, according to Ukrainian officials and the Russian-installed leader in occupied areas of Kherson province, per Reuters.

  • In the east, Ukrainian forces were advancing toward the Luhansk region after the Russian military retreat from the Donetsk region town of Lyman last weekend, the Washington Post notes.
  • A military leader of Putin's forces in Luhansk said Monday that Ukraine's military had managed to "gain a foothold in the direction of the settlement of Lysychansk."

What they're saying: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky pledged Monday fair treatment fir Ukrainians living in Russian-occupied territory, as he noted "life is returning ... wherever the occupiers were driven out."

  • "Our approach has always been and remains clear and fair. If a person did not serve the occupiers and did not betray Ukraine, then there is no reason to consider such a person a collaborator," Zelensky said in his nightly address.
  • "Hundreds of thousands of our people were in the temporarily occupied territory. Many helped our military and special services. Many simply tried to survive and waited for the return of the Ukrainian flag."

Meanwhile, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov acknowledged Monday Ukrainian advances in the Kherson region.

  • "With numerically superior tank units in the direction of Zolota Balka and Oleksandrivka, the enemy managed to forge deep into our defenses," Konashenkov said.
  • However, he said Russian forces had still continued to "inflict massive fire damage" on Ukrainian forces.
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