According to Kyiv, some Russian troops are withdrawing from their positions in the Zaporozhye region of southern Ukraine.
In a daily update on Thursday, Ukraine’s military general staff said Russian troops had left the settlements of Mykhailivka, Polohy and Inzhenerne, all towns south of the city of Zaporozhye.
The Kremlin was also preparing to evacuate “occupation authorities” from the area, the military added.
Russian forces have partially occupied Zaporizhia since the invasion began; in September, Moscow illegally declared it and three other Ukrainian regions as Russian territory.
The frontline in the region stretches for more than 100 miles across rolling farmland. Geolocated footage released Wednesday showed the aftermath of the attack on the Polohy building.
On the battlefield, the Ukrainians appeared to be repeating the actions they took southward in Kherson, attacking bridges behind the front lines, supply centers and Russian troop staging areas.
Ukrainian forces have moved into Kherson in recent months after Russian troops retreated east of the Dnieper River last month and have liberated large swathes of the region, including the city of Kherson.
The General Staff said their airstrikes on about six locations in recent days wounded more than 230 Russian soldiers and destroyed ammunition and equipment.
CNN could not confirm the General Staff’s claim.
Powerful explosions have rocked the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in recent weeks, reigniting fears that fighting so close to the facility could lead to a nuclear accident.
On November 20, a United Nations nuclear expert at the plant said a dozen explosions were heard within a short period of time. Shelling was observed near the facility and at the site.
Rafael Grossi, head of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, hopes to reach an agreement with Russia and Ukraine on protecting nuclear power plants by the end of the year.
“My commitment is to reach a solution as soon as possible. I hope by the end of the year. I know that President Putin is following the process and I don’t rule out talking with him and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met again.”
The Ukrainian mayor in exile of the southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol said the developments come as the Russian military has begun a census in parts of the occupied territory of the Zaporozhye region.
“The Russians have been making a fuss these days. First, they are taking the wounded out of the hospital. Then they are starting a census in the towns of Mykhailivka and Burchak, allegedly in preparation for the evacuation,” Ivan Fedorov said on state television on Friday. The Ukrainian military also said the occupying authorities were conducting a census in Bulchak.
Melitopol has been occupied by Russian troops since the early days of the invasion. Analysts believe that the Ukrainians’ next offensive front is likely to be to push south.
Elsewhere, Russian forces continued to defend their positions in the Lugansk region with tanks, mortars and artillery to prevent further advances by Ukrainian forces, the General Staff said.
Russian forces also shelled several settlements in recently liberated parts of the Kherson region. But Ukrainian Brigadier General Oleksii Hromov claimed that Russian troops accidentally opened fire on his own troops near the village of Tsukury in Kherson last week, killing 14 servicemen. CNN could not confirm the claim.
Khromov said Russian troops had gathered in the Crimean city of Zankoy, which “was practically turned into the largest military base in the territory … weapons and military equipment of the Russian occupation forces and the Russian Armed Forces It was all redeployed from there.”