It's been an eventful week in the Ukrainian war (Photo: Getty/Twitter)
The Ukraine war has just passed the six-month mark – but the last week may prove to be one of the fundamental turning points of the entire conflict.
Here are three of the major events which unfolded over the last seven days.
Ukraine long-awaited counterattack in the south began this week, as the Ukrainian armed forces tried to take back territories seized by Russia.
It comes after spending several weeks building up the attacks on Russia’s supply lines, weakening Vladimir Putin’s army behind the scenes.
Ukraine’s military hit out in eight directions at the same time, and claim to have broken through their opponent’s “first line of defence” and retaking small Ukrainian villages.
However, the second line of defence has been much harder to break.
Greece’s honorary consul in Kherson, Pantelis Boubouras told Al Jazeera: “The villages along the front line – these the Ukrainians broke easily. In the second line of defence, there was blood spilled. I heard 1,000 Ukrainians and 1,500 Russians [were killed].”
He added: “The second line isn’t falling easily. There are 25,000 to 30,000 soldiers, they’ve been there for five months and are very well-equipped and dug in.”
Russia has denied that any territory lost, and claims 1,200 Ukrainians died in a single day during Ukraine’s attempts to recapture some areas.
But the Ukrainian military intelligence spokesman Vadym Skibitsky said Russia is looking to mobilise 90,000 troops in the country, after losing more than 47,000 throughout the war.
These would likely be made up of volunteers, reservists, and soldiers recruited over the summer, although low morale is thought to be affecting Russian ranks.
The offensive also came after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned: “If they want to survive, it is time for the Russian military to flee.”
But, for the most part, the country is keeping its cards close to its chest when it comes to this offensive.
It’s also worth remembering that this is not the case everywhere in Ukraine.
Citizens are still under attack elsewhere – Kharkiv city, in the northeast, is facing intense shelling, particularly in residential areas.
Vitali, 45, left, and Yuri 44, in the trenches on the Kherson frontline in Mykolaiv region, Ukraine, 8th of August 2022. (Photo: The Washington Post via Getty Images)
2. Mysterious death
Ravil Maganov, the chair of Russia’s largest private oil company, fell to his death from a Moscow Central Clinic hospital on Thursday.
The independent news agency, Interfax, claimed he “fell from a window at Central clinical hospital,” and then “died from injuries sustained”.
As head of Lukoil, he was one of the country’s business elite.
Maganov supposedly “passed away following a severe illness” but the news agency did not say what he was being treated for.
Amid conflicting reports about his health prior to his death, it’s worth pointing out that Maganov is just one of several people with ties to the Russian energy industry who has died under unusual circumstances over the last six months.
One of the former top manages of Maganov’s company was found dead in May.
However, none of the deaths have been considered murders.
Lukoil was one of the few Russian energy companies which criticised the invasion of Ukraine, having called for a ceasefire just a week after it began.
Maganov also died on the same day Putin went to visit the same hospital to mark the death of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
It comes as the consequences of the war are starting to play out within Russia’s energy industry too. The Kremlin briefly cut off all Russian gas exports to Europe this week to squeeze countries which are providing financial aid to Ukraine throughout the war.
However, this does will Russia will have seen a fall in profits, on top of the extensive list of sanctions from the rest of the world imposed against it.
Putin with Lukoil Ravil Maganov (R) (Photo: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV via Getty Images)
In true 2022 fashion, memes have become a key part of keeping morale up for many Ukrainians over the last six months.
But it was only this week that the official Twitter account for the Defence of Ukraine (the government branch) retweeted one.
It wrote: “We usually express gratitude to our internationals partners for the security assistance. But today we want to give a shoutout to a unique entity – North Atlantic Fella Organisation #NAFO.
“Thanks for your fierce fight against [the] Kremlin’s propaganda and trolls. We salute you, fellas!”
NAFO is a play on NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Ukraine is not part of Nato but did attempt to join.
Many believe that it was fears Ukraine was getting too close to western organisations such as Nato and the EU (for which it is now officially a candidate for membership) prompted Putin to launch his invasion. After all, the Russian president did demand that Ukraine give up its attempts to join Nato just before the war.
But NAFO is not just a parody of a defence organisation, but uses memes to mock Russia’s military performance and take down its attempts to spread misinformation about the war online.
Always using an image of a Shiba Inu dog (from an older meme), the organisation has no formal name or leadership, according to The Economist, but activists online rally together to use it.
Jeremy Fleming, the head of the GCHQ, recently claimed that Putin has already lost the information war in the West. Writing for The Economist, Shashank Joshi concluded: “The self-appointed warriors of NAFO might claim a little credit for that outcome.”
We usually express gratitude to our international partners for the security assistance. But today we want to give a shout-out to a unique entity - North Atlantic Fellas Organization #NAFO.
Thanks for your fierce fight against kremlin’s propaganda &trolls.
We salute you, fellas! pic.twitter.com/AfDnXf7pfc
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) August 28, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.