IZIUM, Ukraine, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Ukraine said its troops have marched farther east into territory recently abandoned by Russia, paving the way for a potential assault on Moscow's occupation forces in the Donbas region as Kyiv seeks more Western arms.
"The occupiers are clearly in a panic," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a televised address late on Monday, adding that he was now focused on "speed" in liberated areas.
Ukraine's armed forces had regained complete control of the village of Bilohorivka, and were preparing to retake all of Luhansk province from Russian occupiers, provincial Governor Serhiy Gaidai said.
Luhansk and the neighbouring province of Donetsk comprise the industrialised eastern region of Donbas, which Moscow says it intends to seize as a primary aim of what it calls the "special military operation" in Ukraine.
Ukrainian troops have begun to push into Luhansk since driving Russian forces out of northeastern Kharkiv province in a lightning counter-offensive this month.
In the south, where another Ukrainian counter-offensive has been making slower progress, Ukraine's armed forces said they had sunk a barge carrying Russian troops and equipment across a river near Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region.
Damaged cars are seen in the town of Kupiansk, recently liberated by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released September 19, 2022.
At a vast makeshift cemetery in woods near the recaptured town of Izium, Ukrainian forensic experts have so far dug up 146 bodies buried without coffins, Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Synehubov said on Monday.
The Kremlin denied on Monday that Russia was to blame for atrocities that Ukraine says it has uncovered in the recaptured territory.
Ukraine accused Russian forces on Monday of shelling near the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant in the country's southern Mykolaiv region.
A blast occurred 300 metres (yards) away from the reactors and damaged power plant buildings shortly after midnight on Monday, Ukraine's atomic power operator Energoatom said in a statement.