Latest war news between Russia and Ukraine: live updates

attributed to him…Daniel Berholak for The New York Times

Ukraine expressed a growing sense of urgency about its looming counterattack in the south on Thursday, as it said Russia was racing to bolster its forces in the region and was taking more steps to consolidate its political control in the region it controls.

Russia has directed dozens of missiles at targets across Ukraine, including 25 fired from Belarus, according to the Ukrainian military, even as it transports soldiers and equipment to the southern Kherson region. Ukrainian forces continued to maintain their defensive lines in eastern Ukraine while targeting key command and control centers and strongholds of Russian forces behind Russian lines.

The Ukrainians have been paving the way for a large-scale counterattack in the south for some time, and long-range missile strikes in recent days have left thousands of Russian soldiers stationed west of the Dnipro River around the port city of Kherson in a perilous position. It is largely isolated from the Russian strongholds in the east. But the head of Ukraine’s National Security Council told Ukrainian television on Wednesday evening that Russia was now moving the “maximum number” of troops to the southern front in the Kherson region.

The official, Oleksiy Danilov, described a “very strong movement of their troops” at the front in Kherson.

While Western weapons continue to arrive in the country, they are needed on multiple fronts and ammunition remains limited. And although Ukraine’s western allies are racing to train Ukrainian soldiers in new equipment, that too is still a work in progress. The Russians also had months to fortify their defensive lines, and the Ukrainians had yet to launch a major ground counterattack.

Mr. Danilov’s comments reflected the urgency of the government in Kyiv to show progress as it continued to build expectations in a country hungry for positive developments after months of brutal fighting.

The deputy chief of operations of the Ukrainian General Staff also said on Thursday that “our forces continue to gradually liberate the Kherson region.” The official, Oleksiy Hromov, referred to a village in the northwest of the Kherson region as the last village to be retaken.

The most promising front for Ukrainians for any possible major advance is in the western part of Kherson, where the geography of the nation helps them.

The Dnipro River runs along Ukraine, dividing the nation into east and west. The Kherson region itself is divided on the banks of the river, the regional capital and the critical port of Kherson are located on the western bank.

Ukrainian officials and Western military analysts said the strikes this week on a major bridge across the Dnipro River and other important roads and bridges in recent days have left Russian occupying forces around the city of Kherson particularly exposed. A British intelligence report on Thursday said Russia’s main fighting force on the western side of the river “now appears highly vulnerable” due to the strikes on the bridge.

The report stated that “the city of Kherson, the most politically important population center occupied by Russia, is now virtually isolated from the other occupied territories.” His loss would severely undermine Russia’s attempts to portray the occupation as a success.

The head of the pro-Kiev Kherson military administration said that the channels of supplying Russia with weapons and food to the front line had been cut off. “Panic is growing among the occupiers,” official Sarhi Khelan said.

He said the Russians would likely try to repair the bridge, but would have to deal with “the massive flow of the river, which makes it impossible to build the crossings.”

He said the Russians might also try to set up a system for moving equipment across the river, but the announcement by local Kherson officials loyal to Moscow that there had been no humanitarian shipments for at least three days underscores the depth of their dilemma.