Zelenskyy: Ukraine fights back and retakes 30 settlements

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says more than 30 settlements in the country's eastern Kharkiv region have been recaptured from Russian forces in a counteroffensive.

Ukrainian forces earlier started fighting back against Russian troops in the south, including the Kherson region.

Zelenskyy emphasized he would continue the offensive, saying Ukraine is gradually taking control over more settlements, returning the Ukrainian flag and protection for its people.

Russia's defense ministry said on Friday that its forces are being deployed back in Kharkiv, showing footage of its tanks and military vehicles on the move.

The British defense ministry said on Saturday that Ukrainian forces launched offensive operations in the south of Kharkiv on September 6, and that lead elements had "advanced up to 50 kilometers into previously Russian held territory on a narrow front." It said Russian forces were "likely taken by surprise."

The ministry also says Ukrainian units are now "threatening the town of Kupiansk," and that its capture would be a "significant blow to Russia because it sits on supply routes to the Donbas front line."

Russia is believed to have been preparing annexation referendums on Sunday to coincide with the country's local elections in eastern and southern Ukraine, which they had controlled.

However, an executive of Russian President Vladimir Putin's administration is proposing to postpone the referendums till November.

It is widely believed that Russia was forced to delay them because of Ukraine's counteroffensive.