A shake-up and a breakthrough? Ukraine's counteroffensive is at a key moment

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KYIV, Ukraine —  Ukraine is facing a critical moment both on and off the battlefield.

Its troops are fighting to turn what appears to be a minor breakthrough in the south into a substantial breach of Russian lines before winter sets in. And in Kyiv, the defense minister has been dismissed in the biggest shake-up of the country’s leadership since the war began.

The departure of Oleksiy Reznikov has been rumored for months and appears linked to a broader anti-corruption drive, but the timing coincides with developments in another effort that could be crucial to securing ongoing Western support: The first claims of potentially significant gains in the military’s counteroffensive.

Ukrainian forces are gaining a foothold in the area where they have breached Russia’s first main defensive line in the south, Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s defense minister, told NBC News on Monday.