Ukraine's military: Russian troops 'highly likely' preparing to repel Ukraine’s offensive in south

Russian troops have been increasing their presence at certain parts of the front line in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast, according to Yevhen Yerin, a spokesperson for the southern command of Ukrainian forces.

“There is a strengthening of their forces in some areas. Per our intelligence analysis, it's highly likely they are preparing to repel our offensive and attempt a counteroffensive,” Yerin said on the national television, as quoted by Ukrinform, the state-owned news agency.

He said Russia is trying to conscript locals as its troops are blocking Ukrainians from fleeing the occupied areas of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts.

Ukraine’s General Staff said on Dec. 16 that the Russian forces continue strengthening their defense lines between Kherson Oblast and occupied Crimea.