Ukraine's counter-offensive against Russia under way
By Paul Adams
BBC News, Kyiv
Was this the week that Ukraine's long-anticipated counter-offensive finally got under way?
Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to think so. "We can definitely state that this Ukrainian offensive has begun," he said in a video interview published on Telegram on Friday.
In some ways, it's already been under way for weeks, with Ukraine conducting what's known in military jargon as "shaping operations": long range artillery and missile attacks on key Russian logistical targets far behind the front lines.
Monday seemed to herald a change, with small detachments of lightly armoured Ukrainian units moving forward across the open fields towards Russian fortifications in southern Ukraine, south-east of Zaporizhzhia.
"Now the so-called 'fighting reconnaissance stage' is taking place along the entire length of the front," Serhii Kuzan, co-founder and chairman of the Ukrainian Security and Cooperation Centre, told the BBC.
"That means there's a probing of Russian defences."