russia is withdrawing from Kherson. Putin's cunning plan or Ukraine's victory?
From the beginning of the war, the Kherson region was occupied by the russian invaders. It was a painful blow for Ukraine, because it was on the southern flank of the front that the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was waiting for the russians. putin's blitzkrieg in the Kherson region did not come about because of the skill of his military, but probably because of treachery on the Ukrainian side.
By the time of the full-scale offensive, the entire isthmus between Crimea and Kherson was mined, all bridges were supposed to explode during the russian offensive, but this did not happen. After the Russians seized the region, Ukrainian fighters managed to stop the offensive, and already today putin's troops announced the liberation of the right bank of the region. Let's figure out why putin took such a step and what preceded it.
Capture of the Kherson region
On the night of February 24, russian troops launched a full-scale offensive against Ukraine. The first groups of occupiers left the Crimea towards Kherson around 3:45 am. Literally at noon, the Russian troops reached the Kakhovska HPP. Already on February 25, Kherson was taken by putin's fighters. Battles for the city lasted until March 3. Later, the occupiers managed to get to the administrative border of Mykolaiv region. There, the success of putin's generals ended.
In Ukraine, it is assumed that the russian blitzkrieg is connected with betrayal by one of its own. Because the military talked about the fact that the invaders could not have passed the bridge connecting the Kherson region and Crimea so quickly, if it had detonated, as was planned in the event of an offensive.
The betrayal dilemma continues to this day. However, Ukraine promises to conduct an investigation after the victory in the war.
Deoccupation of the Kherson region
After a relatively long occupation of the region, on August 29, the Ukrainian military began an operation to liberate the entire Kherson region. Almost immediately it became clear that an instant assault, following the example of the Kharkiv region, should not be expected. As Ukrainian high-ranking officials explained, the attack on Kherson involves the tactical destruction of the rear positions of the russians, as well as cutting off the supply of the enemy's right-bank group.
Having received the HIMARS multiple-launch rocket systems from the United States, the Armed Forces of Ukraine began implementing the plan. High-precision weapons successfully demonstrated themselves in the case. The Ukrainians daily attacked the warehouses and gatherings of russians on the right bank of the Dnipro. In addition, the front line gradually narrowed thanks to the arrival of assault brigades.
russian retreat from the right bank of Kherson
After several months of smooth onslaught of Ukrainian soldiers, the russian command decides to retreat to the left bank of the Kherson region. The departure of the russian troops was prepared in advance. On November 9, the day when russia announced its retreat, the occupiers blew up all the bridges on the right bank, reasoning that such a step would complicate the advance of the Armed Forces of the Kherson region.
According to the Minister of Defense of the russian federation serhiy shoigu, russian troops should retreat to the left bank.
Possible reasons for the russian retreat:
1. the russians suffer huge losses due to the precise strikes of the Armed Forces on rear positions and warehouses;
2. supplying the russians on the right bank of the Kherson region is no longer possible, since all crossings are under fire control of the Armed Forces;
3. the military command of the russian federation is cunning and wants to involve Ukrainian defenders in street battles.
What do they say in Ukraine?
As the adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Mykhailo Podolyak stated, the Ukrainian side does not pay attention to russian statements, as their words and actions are different.
At the same time, he noted that, despite shoigu's statement, part of the russian troops remains in Kherson, and additional russian manpower is being drawn into the region.
The Office of the President also notes that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are working according to their plan, which consists of several points:
• risk assessment;
• effective counterattack.
Meanwhile, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, believes that the announcement of the alleged retreat from the right bank of the Kherson region is not a "gesture of goodwill" or a "gift" from russia.
What do they say in the West?
Allies of Ukraine are still observing and inactively commenting on the decision of the russian command. However, the US military leadership is already recording the first signs of retreat of russian troops from Kherson. They believe that the process of the occupiers leaving may last weeks.
"I believe they're doing it to preserve their forces to reestablish the defensive lines south of the river, but that remains to be seen. Right now, the early indicators are that they're doing what they're saying, and we're seeing these early indicators", - said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley.
Meanwhile, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) notes that the retreat of the occupiers from Kherson to the left bank of the Dnipro was the result of successful operations by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. And this is unlikely to become a trap for Ukrainian troops.
If russia is really leaving the right bank of the Kherson region, what's next?
There are several options for the development of events on the battlefield in the near future. Obviously, both sides are preparing for some solution.
The head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, claims that after the withdrawal of the Russians from Kherson, the threat of a new invasion from Belarus will greatly increase.
The balance of power can change very quickly when the russian federation loses Kherson. The units that have retained combat capability will be partially redeployed from there to Zaporizhzhia, as well as to the north, to belarus.
What about the civilian population in Kherson and can Ukrainians return to the region?
Russia has been evacuating residents of the Kherson region from the right bank to the left bank for several weeks. However, the "evacuation" stopped a few days ago, because there were no people left who wanted to leave their homes.
It is also worth noting that the withdrawal of the russians from Kherson will most likely cost the city destruction. The occupiers plan to concentrate their weapons on the right bank so that their shells and rockets can reach the city. Therefore, it will be dangerous to stay in Kherson in the near future.
At the same time, after the departure of the Russians, the Ukrainian soldiers will carry out a huge task of clearing and demining the de-occupied territory.
There should be no euphoria against the background of the russian retreat. However, we trust our soldiers, who have proven more than once that they are the backbone of our state. Ukraine is several times superior to the russians, not only on the battlefield. Our people are incredibly united and strong. All of us continue to believe in our victory!
Glory to the Armed Forces!
Everything will be Ukraine!
Photo: Getty Images
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