Russia says its defense minister visited the Zaporizhzhia area of southern Ukraine.

Russia’s protection minister has visited troops close to the entrance line within the partly occupied Zaporizhzhia space of southern Ukraine, in keeping with an announcement issued on Friday by the Russian Protection Ministry.

The Zaporizhzhia area, roughly half of which is occupied by Russian forces, is taken into account a probable focus of Ukraine’s looming counteroffensive.

Russia’s Protection Ministry stated that its high official, Sergei Ok. Shoigu, inspected a ahead command publish within the Zaporizhzhia space, the place he was briefed on the “present state of affairs” and “fight duties carried out by Russian troops.” A video accompanying the assertion on the Telegram messaging app confirmed Mr. Shoigu strolling via a warren of concrete underground passageways, assembly with commanders and pinning a medal on a soldier.

The ministry didn’t specify when or precisely the place the go to happened. As in March, when the ministry stated he visited the Donbas area of japanese Ukraine, the main points of Mr. Shoigu’s journey couldn’t be independently verified.

It comes as Ukrainian officers have stated preparations for his or her counteroffensive are within the remaining phases, and amid mounting indicators of tension in regards to the marketing campaign amongst Russian pro-war navy bloggers. In latest weeks, the Russian occupation authorities in additional than a dozen cities and villages within the Zaporizhzhia area have issued “necessary” evacuation orders, citing intensified combating.

A number of the warfare’s deadliest fight in latest months has concerned Russian efforts to seize the town of Bakhmut in japanese Ukraine. As Ukrainian forces have made advances previously week to the north and south of the town, Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the pinnacle of the Wagner personal navy firm that has led a lot of the assault in Bakhmut, claimed that Ukraine’s counteroffensive already was “in full swing.”

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Mr. Prigozhin, recognized for his outspoken and often-self-serving commentary, stated final week that Ukrainian forces had been intent on first attacking Wagner’s forces in and round Bakhmut after which would go on to focus on Zaporizhzhia.

In its assertion on Friday, Russia’s Protection Ministry stated that Mr. Shoigu had ordered commanders to “perform complete reconnaissance” to uncover Ukraine’s plans “upfront and stop their implementation.”

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