Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stated again that he intends to regain control of Crimea and other Russian-controlled areas in his country.
Zelenskyy made the remark on Friday. Ukrainian troops are planning to conduct a major counteroffensive against the Russian military sometime soon. Russia unilaterally annexed the peninsula in the southern region in 2014.
On Friday, Zelenskyy called Russia an evil that Ukrainians can defeat. He indicated that the de-occupation of the peninsula is the only option for Ukraine and for the world. He said there is no alternative.
Russia's forces are apparently trying to strengthen their defenses against the anticipated counteroffensive. Their moves come amid reports that a series of explosions recently rocked the Russian-controlled areas. The city of Melitopol in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia was reportedly hit by blasts on Thursday, and explosions are said to have occurred in Crimea on Saturday.
Russia blamed Ukraine for the attacks.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces says the Russians are trying to strengthen their defense lines in the southern regions of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. He added that they are also preparing to move residents elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Russia and Ukraine are still fighting fiercely for control of the eastern Ukrainian stronghold of Bakhmut, which is located in the Donetsk region. Some reports say Russia's troops are beginning to regain ground there.