British intelligence reported on Friday that Russian forces had made progress in capturing some villages in eastern Ukraine. But they are still facing disaster in southern Ukraine. Even in the newly annexed Kherson, Russian-backed forces suffered setbacks. Local residents have been ordered to leave Kherson, said a Russian-appointed official there. News from Reuters.

According to British intelligence, forces led by the private Russian military organization Wagner Group have captured the villages of Optin and Ivangrad, south of the hotly contested city of Bakhmut. This is the first progress in more than three months.

London’s Daily Update, which tracks Ukrainian battlefield progress, said there had been little, if any, territory occupied by regular Russian or separatist forces since early July.

Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in late August against Russian forces that had occupied Ukraine since the start of the invasion in February, driving them out of the northeastern region and putting them under heavy pressure in the south.

Ukraine’s main focus now is on Kherson. The region is one of the four territories recently annexed by Russia. It is also of great strategic importance.

Evacuees from the Kherson region are expected to begin arriving in Russia on Friday, Russian news agency Tass said. An official stationed in Russia advised all residents of the region, especially those around the city of Kherson, to leave the city.

The first batch of civilians will arrive in Russia’s Rastov region on Friday, Russian news agency TASS reported.

As Ukrainian forces advance into Russian-held areas of Ukraine, some have fled to Russia, some have been forced into Russia, and others still remain in the Ukrainian-controlled western part of their country.

(October 14)