A senior Ukrainian official forecast "the fiercest of clashes" for the crucial southern province of Kherson, which is partially seized by the Russian military, and stated that Moscow's military is preparing to engage advancing Ukrainian forces.
The region's major city and river port, Kherson, which had a pre-war population of approximately 280,000, is the largest urban hub still held by Russia eight months after it was captured early in the invasion of Ukraine.
Since early October, when Russia claimed to have annexed Kherson and three other provinces, a move condemned by 143 nations at the United Nations as an "attempted unlawful annexation", Ukrainian forces appear to have made little progress in their counteroffensive in Kherson.
"With regard to Kherson, everything is transparent. The Russians are resupplying and fortifying their group there "Tuesday evening, Oleksiy Arestovych, advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, stated in an online video.
"It indicates that no one is planning to withdraw. On the contrary, the fiercest of fights will be waged for Kherson "According to Arestovych, who did not specify when the conflict might occur, the battle could occur at any time.
Kherson is undoubtedly the most strategically significant of the four regions that Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he had annexed. It controls the only land approach to the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, as well as the mouth of the Dnipro, the enormous river that cuts through Ukraine.
Officials in the Russian-backed administration of Kherson have moved hundreds of inhabitants from the west bank of the Dnieper to the east bank over several weeks in anticipation of an imminent onslaught by Ukrainian forces.
Artillery battles continued throughout Tuesday (Oct. 25) in the Mykolaiv region north and west of Kherson city, according to a report from the frontline on the pro-Russian Telegram channel Rybar.
In the Ishchenka district north of Kherson, Ukrainian forces attempted to solidify their positions but were forced to retreat to their previous lines, according to the report. The Ukrainian military was poised to move along the full length of the frontline, according to the report.
A loss at Kherson would be one of Russia's greatest setbacks in the fight.
A Reuters reporter in a rural hamlet near a portion of the frontline in Kherson could not hear any artillery or gunfire.
Residents of the community, which cannot be identified due to Ukrainian military regulations, expressed hope that the Russian forces that had previously bombarded them would soon evacuate.
"You don't know if you'll wake up in the morning," said Mikola Nizinets, 39, as dozens of locals queued to receive water, food packets, and rudimentary wood-burning heaters from charity workers.
Due to the lack of electricity, natural gas, food, and drinkable water in the area, a large number of locals have evacuated, leaving their animals to graze among depleted bombs.
'Dirty bomb allegation'
Tuesday, Russia argued before the United Nations Security Council that Ukraine is planning to use a "dirty bomb" on its territory, a claim that Western and Ukrainian officials denounced as misinformation and an excuse to escalate the conflict.
Russia's Deputy UN Ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, told reporters, "We're pretty satisfied because we've raised awareness." "I don't mind if people say Russia is screaming wolf if this doesn't occur, because this is a potentially catastrophic event that threatens the entire planet."
He stated that the material was contained in intelligence information provided by Western colleagues with the "required level of clearance."
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, reiterated Russia's charges and said it was folly for the West to disregard them.
They follow Moscow's hints that it may be forced to deploy nuclear weapons tactically against Ukraine. The claim of a dirty bomb, according to Zelenskiy, demonstrated that Moscow was plotting such a strike and wanted to blame Kyiv.
Without providing evidence, Russia accused the Ukrainian government of ordering two organizations to manufacture a dirty bomb, an explosive device containing radioactive material.
France, Britain, and the United States stated that the charges were "obviously incorrect," and the United States warned Russia of "grave repercussions" for any nuclear use.
Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States, stated that the use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia would be a grave error. "We do not yet know if this is a false-flag operation, so I cannot promise that it is. But doing so would be a grave error."
According to Russia's defense ministry, the purpose of a dirty bomb assault by Ukraine would be to accuse Russia of radioactive contamination, for which Russia has undertaken preparations.
In an apparent response to Moscow's allegation, the UN nuclear watchdog said it was planning to deploy inspectors to two unspecified Ukrainian locations, both of which were already subject to its inspections, at Kyiv's request.
The Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, told reporters that the inspectors will have full access, and he urged Moscow to exhibit the same level of transparency as Ukraine.
The Eastern Mineral Enrichment Plant in the middle Dnipropetrovsk region and the Institute of Nuclear Research in Kyiv, according to the Russian state-run news agency RIA, are the two sites implicated.
Since September, when Russian forces suffered catastrophic defeats, Putin has redoubled his efforts, mobilizing hundreds of thousands of reservists, announcing the annexation of captured territory, and frequently threatening to use nuclear weapons.