While the Kremlin is barely recovering from the military defeat in the east at Lyman, the Ukrainians are advancing in the south around the important city of Kherson.
Despite the scarcity of information, it seems that the Ukrainians are advancing from the northeast. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced, on Monday, the liberation of the towns of Mirolyubivka and Arshanhelsky, about 110 kilometers from the city of Kherson. Immediately south of it, Ukrainian armored units advanced tens of kilometers along the Dnieper to the town of Dudchany, away from the Russian lines. On Tuesday morning, the Ukrainian armed forces again made significant territorial gains in some places and it was not clear where the front was.
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A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman had already acknowledged on Monday that Ukraine “has penetrated deeply into our defences” and that the Russians have had to leave their posts to take up new positions. Ukrainian Telegram channels reported on Tuesday that the Ukrainians had also taken control of the West in some places at the front.
Kherson is one of four Ukrainian regions annexed last Friday, although Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that the exact boundaries of the annexed territories in the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions had yet to be determined “after consulting with residents”. But it is precisely here that the Russian troops find themselves in a weak position on the western bank of the Dnieper, largely isolated from the hinterland. In recent months, Ukraine has continuously attacked bridges to Kherson (including HIMARS missiles). Thus, the provision of approximately 25,000 Russian soldiers on the other side of the river was problematic. The Russian General Staff reported New York times Two weeks ago, according to anonymous sources, he was said to have pushed for a retreat beyond the Dnieper. It is alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin refused this request.
The annexation of Kherson by the Russian Federation means that the Russians intend to persistently defend the city. Reports from the Russian Defense Ministry and Russian telegram channels paint a picture of fierce fighting, with heavy casualties on both sides. Despite the military success of the past 48 hours, Kherson is not yet within the reach of the Ukrainians. In recent months, the Russians have built several defensive lines around the city.
Despite the military success of the past 48 hours, Kherson is not yet within the reach of the Ukrainians
Kherson is also defended by elite units of the Russian Armed Forces, such as the 76th Airborne Division. And although Kyiv seems to have thrown all its weight into the battle at Kherson, having deployed dozens of tanks and armored personnel carriers, the question is whether the Ukrainian predominance is sufficient to form the entire Russian garrison.
Destroyed combat units
This does not change the fact that Russian positions on the West Bank appear unacceptable in the long run. The fighting in recent months has taken a heavy toll on the Russian armed forces. Units of the 126th Brigade, a male Russian blogger on Telegram, have been at the Kherson front since March; The men had had no more than five days off in the past seven months. All units have been severely depleted in recent months due to the constant influx of dead and wounded.
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Under these conditions, even the best Russian troops could be broken. In Lyman, the men of the 144th Panzer Infantry Division – the professional commander of the Russian army – could not withstand the Ukrainian troops. Russia needs tens of thousands of new soldiers to rebuild its devastated combat units – well-trained soldiers, not reservists who are now rushing to mobilize. At the moment, Russia has to retreat – also in the Donbass. After the liberation of Lyman, the Ukrainians advanced east towards Kremena and the road to Sheferodonetsk. In mid-June, the Russians captured this industrial city after heavy fighting. Now the roles have been reversed.
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