Could Ukraine Take Back Kherson? After slowly preparing for several weeks, the Ukrainian military has launched a counteroffensive in the country’s south to retake the city of Kherson.
In preparing for the offensive, Ukrainian troops using US-supplied HIMARS missile systems have damaged three bridges over the Dnipro River, including the all-important Antonivsky Bridge, Russia’s main supply route, rendering it “unusable,” according to Ukrainian military officials.
The bridge was then closed to civilian traffic by the Russian-proxy government and forced the Russian military to begin using a ferry service.
The UK Ministry of Defense issued its daily intelligence assessment and said that Russian troops inside the city were “virtually cut off.”
“Ukraine’s counter-offensive in Kherson is gathering momentum. Their forces have highly likely established a bridgehead south of the Ingulets River, which forms the northern boundary of Russian-occupied Kherson.
“Ukraine has used its new long-range artillery to damage at least three of the bridges across the Dnipro River, which Russia relies upon to supply the areas under its control.
“Russia’s 49th Army is stationed on the west bank of the Dnipro River and now looks highly vulnerable. Similarly, the most politically significant population center occupied by Russia, Kherson city is now virtually cut off from the other occupied territories. Its loss would severely undermine Russia’s attempts to paint the occupation as a success.”
Russia Moving Troops to Southern Region to Combat Offensive:
The Russian military is sensing the danger posed by the Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kherson and has begun shifting troops and artillery from the eastern Donbas region, the scene of heavy fighting recently, to the south.
This is significant because, if true, it would indicate Russian troops are going on the defensive after slogging their way through the Donbas in recent weeks. They have taken much of the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts (provinces), which comprise the Donbas, but have not completely taken them.
Oleksiy Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security Council, said that Russia is moving “the maximum number” of its troops to the southern area to aid in the defense of Kherson, the first major city that Russia took in the early days of the war.
On national television late Wednesday night, Danilov said there was evidence of “a very powerful movement of their troops” in the Kherson city area, as the Russians are nearly cut off from the troops on the opposite side of the Dnipro River.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted on the Telegram channel app, “We will not give up. We will not give up. We will not be intimidated,” he wrote after Russia unleashed a fusillade of missile attacks across the country.
“We will not give up. We will not be intimidated. Ukraine is an independent, free, indivisible state. And it will always be so,” he added.
According to Energatom, Ukraine’s nuclear power company, Russian troops are using nuclear power plants as ammunition warehouses due to Ukraine targeting Russian command and control centers and especially ammunition depots.
“The Russian military dragged at least 14 units of heavy military equipment with ammunition, weapons, and explosives to the engine room of the 1st power unit of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant,” said Energatom.
“The entire arsenal of imported heavy equipment with all ammunition is currently located very close to the equipment that ensures the operation of the turbogenerator. In particular, in the immediate vicinity of the main oil tank, which contains inflammable oil that cools the steam turbine. There is also explosive hydrogen, which is used to cool the generator,” its report said.
Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He served as a US Army Special Forces NCO, and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com and other military news organizations, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for over 11 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.