It’s all the time difficult to sift via the fog of struggle to determine what’s occurring on the bottom in Ukraine, particularly so when it’s breaking information just like the Ukrainian counteroffensive, and additional so when it’s in a theater—Kherson in southern Ukraine—through which Ukraine has enforced a decent lid on data.
As such, what’s mentioned beneath could also be distorted and even flat out improper. Particulars will kind out within the coming days because the Open Supply Group aggregates its varied sources of knowledge to color the extra correct image. However for now, I’ll talk about what appears to be occurring, to one of the best of accessible data.
To start with, there is a easy query: Is there really a significant offensive happening in Kherson? Illia Ponomarenko, a protection author on the Kyiv Impartial, forged some potential doubt on the early experiences.
“Tactical” means it’s simply localized actions with out broader strategic concerns. We’ve seen his occur a number of occasions, going all the way in which again to March—we see exercise, we expect “counteroffensive!” solely to see minimal motion on the map. Nonetheless, there’s motive to consider that is totally different, if for no different motive than Ukraine has stated it’s. At all times detest to announce offensive operations, it loudly trumpeted this one.
“Right this moment we began offensive actions in varied instructions, together with within the Kherson area,” Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne on August 29 cited southern command spokeswoman Natalya Humenyuk as saying. She confirmed the information minutes later at a briefing.
Something lower than a critical Kherson offensive would make Ukraine look weak. Given the remainder of the proof, we will seemingly take these proclamations at face worth.
Whereas Ukraine hates to announce liberations whereas operations are ongoing, data is leaking out of a large entrance, with Ukraine placing stress on your entire line.
Don’t fear in regards to the precise location of the settlement names listed on the tweets above, it’s all rumor and supposition at this level, and none of these cities are main sufficient to be thought of a significant breakthrough. All that’s essential is that Ukraine is transferring ahead in a number of locations, even when Russian sources claimed they already retook their misplaced floor. (I can very a lot consider that these settlements are being actively contested by either side.)
I’ve seen rumors of progress alongside different elements of this entrance, together with the northeast tip of Russian-controlled territory, on the Dnipro river banks (high proper on this map). Nonetheless, there’s no proof of something past what’s being mentioned on Telegram and maybe leaking from extra official sources. Bear in mind, it is a very flat a part of Ukraine, very uncovered to artillery and aviation assaults. That’s why Ukraine has been systematically degrading Russia’s provide depots, in addition to provide routes. As soon as Russia runs out of artillery shells, the duty turns into a far totally different one than even what they’re coping with at this very second.
As is, pro-Russian Telegram sources claimed Ukrainian forces had superior 10 kilometers at varied factors alongside the entrance, which should’ve made them very jealous given their glacial tempo on the Donbas entrance. (Once more, no actual affirmation.)
Ukrainian army knowledgeable Oleg Zhdanov, who runs a every day YouTube replace, claims that Ukraine has damaged via a “first line of protection” towards Kherson, however that at the least two extra strains stay.
Ukrainian forces have damaged via the primary line of defence, the 109th regiment of the first Military Corps from the eighth subject military left their positions along with Russian VDV who supported them. Ukrainian forces took these positions. Affirmation of that is anticipated. This was a results of Ukrainian artillery and aviation that led to Russian forces lose fight skill, or it was results of an assault.
Oleg counsel to attend for official data.
With regards to additional development, it’s essential to recollect Russians have constructed 3 strains of defence in path in direction of Kherson, though in earlier months two first have been already damaged via. Fast advance shouldn’t be potential, we have to keep affected person.
The 109th regiment—made up of Donbas conscripts—was routed after Russian “elite” VDV airborne troops deserted their positions. That is very “fog of struggle” kind of information and nothing I’d put cash on. However the VDV was decimated within the Battle of Kyiv, they usually’ve been sitting right here since March recuperating. Wouldn’t be stunning that they’d lack the desire to proceed combating, and the Donbas cannon fodder positive isn’t motivated to die this removed from their properties.
I believe one thing is misplaced within the translation in that final paragraph, however the gist is that even when Ukraine has busted via the primary strains of protection, there are much more obstacles forward for them. This Ukrainian soldier talks in regards to the difficulties of their first wave assault
He talks about having to cost throughout an open subject, lined in mines, as Russian drones dropped grenades from above (together with one which concussed him), and artillery lands round them. He additionally says their comms have been missing making coordination tough. Should you can’t see the captions, totally increase the video.
Presidential advisor Aleksey Arestovych has his personal tackle the counteroffensive:
The UAF began small counteroffensive within the Southern path, broke via the primary line of Russian defences in a number of places and are at the moment making an attempt to progress deeper into Russian-occupied territory.
Concurrently, a number of bridges have been hit by artillery and HIMARS (Antonovskij bridge, the Antonovskij railway bridge, Dar’jvskij and Nova Kahovka bridges). Later within the night the pontoon ferries along with the Russian army tools. One other two pontoon bridges have been destroyed or broken. All of the Dnipro Crossings are beneath Ukrainian hearth management […]
Arestovych additionally talked about the success of Ukrainian aviation that elevated its exercise after the destruction of Russian Air-defence radars.
Attention-grabbing that he calls it a “small counteroffensive.” Expectations setting? Regardless, this lays out the Ukrainian technique we’ve been speaking about for months—lure in Russians, minimize them off, assault them, after which … actually, now we hope they resolve that dying over this piece of land removed from their properties is silly.
The assault did mark a altering level within the struggle:
The shift from strategic targets (provide depots, command and management, bridges, provide strains, and many others) to tactical ones (troops within the trenches) presumably signifies that they’d run out of long-range targets, since M777s and different tube artillery might hit these emplacements simply as successfully, and cheaper. Maybe the U.S. nonetheless has outdated unguided MLRS rockets to supply up, for the reason that guided ones are so costly and briefly provide.
Nonetheless, guided artillery may be very efficient towards trenches, as this video, geolocated to Kherson’s airport, reveals (delicate pictures, and I’d counsel quantity off):
After darkish fell, Ukraine went again to hitting bridges linking Russian forces in Kherson oblast with their provide strains in Crimea and jap Ukraine.
Along with Nova Kakhovka, there have been experiences and a few photos of Ukraine hitting the barges which have partly changed entry misplaced after Ukraine shut down the Antonovsky bridge.
I took a peek at NASA FIRMS satellite tv for pc information, which is designed to trace forest fires, however does an amazing job of monitoring the Ukrainian entrance strains:
That definitely tracks what’s being reported, with hearth focus at all three Ukrainian advances—west of Kherson approaching Tomyna Balka, north of Kherson round Davydiv Brid, and northeast of Kherson on the strategy to Kryvyi Rih.
Russia, which claims it has shot down extra Ukrainian plane than Ukraine ever had in its Air Pressure, has some lofty casualty claims for the day: 560 Ukrainian troopers, 26 tanks, 23 armored combating autos, 9 troop carriers, and two plane. Okay, positive.
Info is likely to be powerful to get for some time, as Ukraine’s Normal Employees requested that “everybody go darkish on posting any data, movies, photographs, as regards to the Battle for Kherson. Operation Safety is vital.” I think we’ll get extra data from pro-Russia telegram than from the Ukrainian facet within the days and weeks forward.
That is what it’s like being close to the receiving finish of a HIMARS/MLRS strike:
Russia is caught, shedding floor in a number of fronts, Sweden and Finland are becoming a member of NATO, Europe is trying elsewhere for its power wants, the UN retains rebuking them, they by no means achieved air superiority, and its navy is hiding from a rustic with no navy.
So yeah, positive, Russia is profitable…