Ukrainian attacks continue in key southern Zaporizhzhia region
By Jaroslav Lukiv
Ukrainian attacks in the key southern Zaporizhzhia region are continuing, Russian officials and military bloggers say, reporting heavy fighting there.
They say Ukrainian troops - backed by tanks, artillery and drones - are trying to advance south of the town of Orikhovo for the second night running.
A senior Ukrainian defence official said the enemy was in "active defence".
Several military experts have said the focus of Ukraine's long-awaited counter-offensive will be Zaporizhzhia.
They argue Kyiv is probably trying to regain access to the Sea of Azov, splitting the occupying Russian forces in the region into two separate groupings. That would weaken their combat capabilities.
Earlier on Thursday, the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Ukraine's counter-offensive had begun - although Kyiv remains tight-lipped on the issue.
Meanwhile, the UK defence ministry said that "amidst a highly complex operational picture, heavy fighting continues along multiple sectors of the front".