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Putin Has a Problem: Kherson Offensive A ‘Tactical Surprise’ For Russia Military

TOS-1A Thermobaric Weapons
Russian TOS-1A. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Russia Has More Problems to Contend with in Ukraine: Britain’s Ministry of Defence described Ukraine’s Kherson offensive as a “tactical surprise” for the Russians in an update over the weekend.

In an intelligence update shared on Twitter, British intelligence officials revealed how Ukraine’s advance was unexpected to the Russians and noted how Ukrainian troops were able to exploit Russia’s poor logistics to regain lost ground.

“Since 29 August 2022, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been conducting renewed offensive operations in the south of Ukraine,” the update reads. “One element of this offensive is an ongoing advance on a broad front, west of the Dnipro River, focusing on three axes within Russian-occupied Kherson Oblast.”

The operation, the intelligence says, has limited immediate objectives but is proving successful as Ukrainian troops are “exploiting poor logistics, administration, and leadership in the Russian armed forces.”

The comments come after Western government officials describe “tactical gains” made during the first week of Ukraine’s latest counteroffensive against Russia in Kherson. On Friday, officials said that while the operation is limited in scope, it is already beginning to work.

“The Ukrainians themselves have already said that the offensive is, in their words, a planned slow operation to grind the enemy, which will take time and effort,” one official said. “I don’t think we should be anticipating gigantic breakthroughs which completely change the picture…the signs are good at the moment.”

Russia Isn’t Ready

Russia is still struggling to resupply its dwindling troops in eastern Ukraine, too. According to Ukrainian intelligence, 40% of the military equipment earmarked for the newly formed 3rd Army Corps is not combat-ready.

A representative from the Intelligence Directorate at Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said that Russia was using its latest military equipment back in February and March, and that new equipment may not be read for some time. The newly-created Russian military units are designed to provide additional support for existing units in Ukraine but are depending on Soviet-era equipment until the new equipment arrives.

AT4

A Soldier assigned to the 109th Transportation Company, 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, U.S. Army Alaska, handles a M136E1 AT4-CS confined space light anti-armor weapon during live-fire training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Oct. 12, 2017. The Soldiers of 17th CSSB recently completed a series of live-fire training events that honed their skills on a variety of weapon systems to include: the M4 carbine, the M9 pistol, the M203 grenade launcher, and the M136E1 AT4-CS confined space light anti-armor weapon. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)

Intelligence suggests that Russia will not be able to fill the ranks of these new units and provide them with the necessary modern equipment until the end of November, meaning Russia could be forced to maintain its defenses in eastern and southern Ukraine for several more months before launching new offenses of their own.

Russia is believed to have redeployed around 20,000 troops to the western bank of the Dnipro River to hold back Ukrainian troops advancing into the region, but it’s unclear how long Russia can prevent the inevitable without access to more troops and equipment.

Ukraine

Video of Ukraine’s forces launching an attack. Image Credit: Twitter Screenshot.

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 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.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Jacksonian Libertarian

    September 3, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    The Russian logistics is their Achilles heel.

    Ukraine would be wise to drive the offensive south, down the M-18 to Melitopol and beyond, with the objective of putting Harpoon missiles on the Azov Sea. This would cut the lines of communications between the Russian East and South, and lay fire on all the supply lines into and out of the Crimea. If the M-17, M-18, and Kerch bridge, were all cut, and shipping on the Azov Sea was crushed. The Russian forces in the south would wither and die.

    I can understand putting pressure on Kherson until Russian supply shortages become apparent. But, the offensive can’t stop there and be called a strategic success. Ukrainian forces should leverage the range of the smart weapons they’ve been supplied with, and avoid urban combat where dumb weapons are still useful. Starved of fuel and ammo, Russian forces will capitulate.

  2. Putin Vlad

    September 3, 2022 at 4:05 pm

    Jack. Let me teach you how to write good lyrics? Look. You write that Ukraine’s offensive actions were successful. I’m interested to know which settlements Ukraine managed to seize? The problem is that I open the Ukrainian map of hostilities and see only a few captured villages. Then I open Russian telegram channels and see endless footage of destroyed Ukrainian equipment. Why can’t we say outright that the Ukrainian offensive has failed?

  3. Michael Higam

    September 3, 2022 at 6:11 pm

    🤣😂🤣😂 A little delusional.

  4. allan caine

    September 3, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    ukraine lost over 100 tanks in three days (three battalions), 2000+ ukrainian soldiers killed and not a single settlement or village taken. It was a turkey shoot…….but the ukranians are winning-right jack?

  5. Old Desert Coyote

    September 4, 2022 at 1:56 am

    Russia as two major problems that over shadows every thing else. Its population and its Gross Domestic Product. Russia has a population of 146 million People and a GDP of 1.6 Trillion dollars. To fund the development and then the production of Military hardware takes a lot of rubles.
    Those same rubles are in competition with the Rubles necessary to fund housing, food, clothing, transport of people and material, etc. Also has anyone who has been a project administrator can tell you the production of a prototype is only about 25% to 30% of the final production costs of any item. Most of the cost of any piece of military hardware is in the fixing of bugs, and adding increased capability to the product to make it combat ready.

    The Russian economy is just to small to create the massive numbers of Aircraft, missiles, drones, Tanks, APC’s, artillery,
    naval vessels, Radars, Computers, Communications equipment,trucks, uniforms,boots, rations, that a modern nation needs to fight even a small war.

    As I said the Russian GDP is 1.6 trillion Dollars while the United States GDP is 23.3 trillion dollars.

  6. marcjf

    September 4, 2022 at 5:28 am

    Pro-Russian sources report the exact opposite. Believe what you will.

    And in other “news”, the third water borne assault by the UAF on the ZNPP in as many days has been blown out of the water. But no reporting on this claim. The same British intelligence sources cited above are alleged to have been involved in these operations.

    We live in truely strange times.

  7. Anders

    September 4, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    Actually if you would just look at like satellite imagery and Ukraine’s own military logistics, you would know that the Ukrainian military is absolutely getting its ass handed to them. And no, it brings me ZERO pleasure to say this, but facts are fucking facts.

    Why can’t western media tell the truth anymore? As a New York resident and Atlanta, Georgia native I’m ashamed at how terrible our media and “journalism” has gotten over the years. This article is so easily disproven by observable data that is readily available. Do better 19fortyfive!!!

  8. from Russia with love

    September 5, 2022 at 6:17 am

    @Old Desert Coyote
    what you write contradicts the facts.😉 no, I’m not talking about numbers. everything is in order with the numbers.😎👍 but the actual state of affairs is completely opposite to your conclusions.
    the anti-Russian coalition (the most significant representatives of the United States, Britain, the EU, Japan) have been imposing sanctions for half a year and cannot do anything with the Russian economy. worse, by their actions, this coalition caused an economic crisis in their countries, while there was no economic crisis in Russia. moreover, as a result of these actions, Russia receives super profits from the sale of hydrocarbons.

    you write that “The Russian economy is too small to create a huge amount … etc.”, but Russia has already been doing this for the last 15 years. unlike the EU countries and the US is already doing all this. it’s the same as sitting in a flying plane talking about the fact that “God did not give man wings and therefore man cannot fly.” 😉

    I have a counter question for you. if in Russia the GDP is 1.6 trillion, and in the USA 23.3, then why did Russia re-equip its army, but the USA has constant problems with this? for example, why is Russia adopting and releasing new tanks, but the US is forced to modernize the old Abrams? why does Russia have its own active defense systems, but the US is forced to buy from Israel? why does Russia already have the second generation of hypersonic missiles, but the United States cannot complete the first generation?
    a little hint, in Russia the military-industrial complex is a state structure, in the USA it is a private commercial structure.😉

  9. Fluffy Dog

    September 5, 2022 at 3:04 pm

    @Jacksonian Libertarian
    We can discuss all kinds of military moves, but it’s all academic. We, at least myself, do not have the necessary data to make an operational decision on where best to attack and how.
    The only obvious thing is that Kherson and the lands on the right bank of Dnieper became a trap for the Russians the minute Ukraine got long-range precision artillery. They have taken the right approach, IMHO: eliminate the ammo, fuel, and food depots, and the defense will collapse. It’s the right thing to do, which allows preserving the personnel, which by now have both training and practical experience, and is expensive and time-consuming to replace.
    Once Kherson is taken, Ukrainian artillery will be in the position to cover the Crimean isthmus. And so on.

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