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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Putin Has A Problem: Ukraine Is Getting Ready for an Offensive

HIMARS
A U.S. Army M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) launches ordnance during RED FLAG-Alaska 21-1 at Fort Greely, Alaska, Oct. 22, 2020. This exercise focuses on rapid infiltration and exfiltration to minimize the chance of a counterattack. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Beaux Hebert)

After weeks of speculation that Ukraine was preparing a large counteroffensive in Kherson, the Ukrainian military on Monday finally began implementing orders to push back Russian soldiers in southeastern Ukraine. 

Local reports revealed on Monday that the Ukrainian military broke through Russia’s first line of defense near Kherson, forcing the 109th DPR regiment to withdraw from its positions. Russian paratroopers also reportedly fled the battlefield, putting Ukraine on a good footing to take back control of Kherson and hinder Russia’s progress in the southeast. 

Ukraine’s southeast region, overwhelmingly occupied by the Russian military, is strategically important for Russia. Not only does it connect Ukraine to Russia-occupied Crimea, but it also holds coastline on both the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. 

The Kyiv Post reported that the Kakhovka operational group promised a “brilliant chance” to regain territories in Kherson and nearby regions using U.S.-supplied HIMARS

The fresh counteroffensive also follows a series of strikes on Russian supply bridges in the region, cutting off the Russian military from its supply of weapons, ammunition, food and water, and military vehicles. 

“Almost all the large bridges in Kherson have already been destroyed – the Russian army have been cut off from the supply of weapons and personnel from Crimea,” the operational group’s message claimed.

Details Available After Operation Complete

Speaking to CNN on Monday morning, Natalia Humeniuk, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Operational Command South, confirmed that Ukrainian forces “started the offensive actions in several directions on the South front towards liberating the occupied territories.”

Humeniuk added that full details of the offensive “will be available after the operation is fulfilled.”

Ukraine reportedly chose to strike now because Russian battlefield tactical groups, which are made up of air defense systems, infantry, tanks, and other artillery, are operating at half of their normal manpower. This could explain Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent decree promising to grow the size of his military by 137,000

HIMARS

A HIMARS Multiple Launch Rocket System fires during a training session at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, Fla., March 9, 2012. HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) is the newest asset of the Florida Army National Guard’s 3rd Battalion, 116th Field Artillery Regiment.

Russia’s weakening position in the region is largely a result of Ukraine’s effective use of the HIMARS missile systems supplied by the United States, as well as destroyed supply routes to the south. Recent strikes in Crimea have also served to reduce Russia’s strength there.

CNN’s Jim Sciutto further noted that U.S. intelligence understands Russia has been unable to deploy needed units to the frontlines, leaving its forces vulnerable to this counteroffensive.

Operation Already Underway

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told CNN on Monday that the operation is already underway, and began on Monday at 7 a.m. local time. The attack, Poroshenko said, involves shelling and missiles. 

“This is the first time since February 2022 when such a concentrated [sic] of Ukrainian troops with Western artillery and with western HIMARS and Western missiles was collected together for this counterattack,” the former president said, per Jim Sciutto.

Humeniuk also told Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne that the counteroffensive has been going on for a while, in the sense that the Ukrainian military has been “exhausting the enemy and not giving him an opportunity to advance.”

Zelenskyy Hinted At Offensive Last Night

During his nightly address On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared to hint at the upcoming Ukrainian offensive in Kherson. 

The Ukrainian president made a vague reference to “further actions” of Ukrainian defenders and insisted he “cannot go into detail.” Zelenskyy also made specific reference to the “return” of Ukraine. 

And Ukraine will return. For sure. Life will return. The dignity of the people of Donbas will return. The ability to live will return. The opportunity to live safely and happily,” Zelenskyy said, stressing that the Ukrainian flag will once again be raised in Donetsk, Horlivka, Mariupol, all cities of Donbas and Azov, and in the Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions. 

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Gary Jacobs

    August 29, 2022 at 4:13 pm

    Early reports indicate Ukraine has regained control of Nova Dmytrivka, Tomyna Balka, and Pravdyne along the T1501 highway and are about 5miles directly west of Kherson City on that axis. It looks like they are about to have troops on 2 sides of the city, and the Dnipro on a third with no bridge for the Russians to flee. Other reports show the pontoon bridge Russians were building has been damaged as well.

    Too early to tell if this will be a victory in Kherson City, and/or how much the criminal Russian Gang/Army will leave scorched earth in their wake if they are forced to abandon the city. Based on what we’ve seen so far I expect them to use thermobaric bombs on the city center from the other side of the river. Like a spoiled child breaking a toy he tried to take from another kid… because if the Russians cant have it no one can.

  2. Reginald Bowler

    August 29, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    You say “Ukraine reportedly chose to strike now because Russian battlefield tactical groups, which are made up of air defense systems, infantry, tanks, and other artillery, are operating at half of their normal manpower. This could explain Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent decree promising to grow the size of his military by 137,000”

    There is an intrinsic error there. The Russians are going to grow their total army numbers over and above current. The 137,000 is not “to recoup losses”.

  3. Gary Jacobs

    August 29, 2022 at 7:01 pm

    Reginald Bower… you are supposign Russia is somehow telling the truth about the total # of their armed forces. Or the total # of dead and wounded in battle. Putin’s propaganda machine rarely if ever tells the truth. Even if the Ukrainians are inflating the number of Russians killed and wounded, you can still find a happy medium in there and look at the results. The Ukrainians have fought the supposedly mighty Russian army quite well all things considered. Russians have retreated from Kyiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, and more. And then when the Russians finally concentrated their forces in the east, the Ukrainians adapted their tactics, allowed the Russians to punch themselves out, much like a rope-a-dope, and after shaping the battlefield with new weapons now Ukraine appears to be on the counter attack.

    Time will tell if they are successful. The Russians army is desperate, and despicable…who knows what depths they will sink to in order to make Ukraine pay for even trying to take back their country much less if they force Russia to retreat yet again.

  4. RM

    August 30, 2022 at 11:54 am

    So, the Ukrainian Army which has been fighting separatist fighters since 2014, are now able to push back! The first casualty of war is the truth. Ukraine destroyed the bridges. Doesn’t that mean the Ukrainian army can not move troops and equipment east of the river?

  5. Ray

    August 30, 2022 at 1:50 pm

    Politics aside, If the ukranians take it to the russians with any appreciable damage, things will very hairy. Too many scenarios, almost all bad.

  6. truthalwayswinsout

    August 30, 2022 at 9:55 pm

    They simply need to kill Russians. They don’t need land. They need to kill lots and lots of Russians and or take lots of prisoners. With the satellite info they get from the US that is fairly easy to do.

    The attacks must be on leadership, and logistics trains. There is no need to make costly attacks to take back land. The Russians will leave the land if they cannot feed or supply their troops.

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