Announcing the start of Kyiv’s offensive in the southern Kherson region, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Russian soldiers to flee or surrender if they want to survive.

The long-awaited start of this offensive comes after weeks of gradual Ukrainian and Russian troop build-ups around the city of Kherson, where Ukraine had a relative advantage over Russian troops on August 27, according to EU analysts. While there has been a lot of enthusiasm in the Ukrainian media, with the the former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, army general Nikolai Malomuzh, describing the offensive as a turning point in the war, western observers have been more reserved in their judgement.

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