Kherson counter offensive: what happened in Ukraine, is city occupied by Russia, what has been shelled?

The Ukrainian city was the first to fall under Russian control at the beginning of the war

Ukraine has launched an offensive against Russia in the occupied city of Kherson.

After weeks of targeted attacks against Russian supply routes, the counter-offensive to retake the territory in the south has begun.

Russia has claimed that Ukrainian troops are suffering “heavy losses”, whilst Ukraine have said their military has “broken through the frontline in several places”.

The war in Ukraine has been raging on since February, after Russian forces invaded the country.

It has claimed thousands of lives, displaced millions, caused widespread disruption and triggered a food and energy crisis around the world.

Here’s everything you need to know about what has happened in Kherson.

Oleksandr Shulga looks at his destroyed house following a missile strike in Mykolaiv (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)

What is the Kherson counter-offensive?

Ukraine has launched an attack on Russian occupied areas in the south.

The counter-offensive, which started on 29 August, is attempting to push Russian troops back across the Dnipro river and bring the city of Kherson back into Ukrainian territory.

The city was the first to fall at the beginning of the war and its population of 280,000 people have been under Russian control ever since.

The region borders the strategic Crimean peninsular, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

There have been reports of intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces, with Kyiv telling all civilians in the Kherson Oblast to evacuate for their own safety.

According to CNN, Ukraine has already taken back four villages and have broken through the frontline in three places.

Is Kherson occupied by Russia?

Kherson was the first city to fall to Russia at the beginning of the war and has been under Russian control ever since.

It is their only regional capital outside of the Russian-controlled Donbas region.

A replica of the Soviet Banner of Victory flies in Kherson in May 2022 (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)

Following the occupation, the city has undergone “Russification”, with Moscow appointing an occupying administration and changing the official currency to the Russian rouble.

There had been plans for the city to hold a referendum to join Russia, similar to the way Crimea and the Donbas region had been annexed.

Has Kherson been shelled?

Ukraine has been carrying out a series of attacks against the Russian military and its supply lines in the occupied territories against Kherson and Crimea.

Russia has lost military equipment including war planes and ammunition stores, as a result.

In the lead-up to the Kherson counter-offensive Ukraine destroyed a key bridge into the city, preventing supplies getting to Russian forces.

The Ukrainian military have been using HIMARS, which were supplied by America to carry out the attacks.

Vladimir Leontiev, the man in charge of the Russian-backed administration has said there have been “around 15” missle strikes on the city.

Speaking to Russian news agency Tass, Leontiev explained: “These are not single strikes, but a series of strikes. As such we can probably say that up to 100 missiles in total have hit the city.”

What has President Volodymyr Zelensky said?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has told Russian troops to flee, stating that Ukraine’s military would be chasing them back “to the border”.

In his nightly TV address, Zelensky said: “If they want to survive - it’s time for the Russian military to run away. Go home.”

Adding: “Ukraine is taking back its own.”

Ukraine has launched a counter-offensive against the Russian controlled city of Kherson (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)

What has Russia said?

Russia has acknowledged the Kherson counter-offensive is underway, but has said that it has failed.

They have not confirmed that Ukraine has retaken any territory or that they have made it to the front lines.

The Russian Defence Ministry has said that Ukraine attempted to push into Kherson but had not been successful.

In a statement on Russian owned RIA News Agency the Defence Ministry said: “the enemy’s offensive attempt failed miserably.”