Putin’s Ukraine War Keeps Looking Worse for the Russian Military: Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the country’s south, aiming to retake Kherson, is making small but steady progress. President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that their forces had retaken two towns, and they posted photos on social media of soldiers raising the Ukrainian flag over large buildings.
“I believe that the Ukrainian flag and free life will return to Crimea again. We will liberate all our lands, all our people,” Zelensky said.
“The Armed Forces of Ukraine, our intelligence, and special forces are taking the necessary steps for this. You can hear these steps. And everyone can see: the occupiers have already begun to flee from Crimea,” he added.
“Vysokopillya. Kherson region. Ukraine. Today,” Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Presidential Office, wrote on Facebook over a photograph of troops on rooftops, one of them fixing a Ukrainian flag.
The Ukrainian military’s plan for several weeks has been to pound Russian troop concentrations, supply lines, and headquarters elements to disrupt communications on the west side of the Dneiper River. They have been shelling the bridges in Kherson for weeks, and as the Russians keep trying to repair them, the Ukrainians shell them again.
The Antonivsky Bridge was hit again and rendered impassable to traffic. Their plan is to cut the supply lines for the enemy troops, take out their ammunition depots, which will isolate the troops in Kherson as they move to retake the regional capital.
Moscow’s “Kherson Referendum” Put on Hold:
While the Russians have downplayed the effectiveness of the counteroffensive, in one case dismissing it as a failure, even before it began, their actions speak otherwise.
Russian-appointed proxy officials in the Kherson region said on Monday that they had put a planned sham referendum on whether to join Russia on hold because of “the events that happened.”
Besides the counteroffensive, Ukrainian resistance cells in Kherson have stepped up sabotage and assassinations of Russian-proxy officials. The latest was the shooting of Alexei Kovalev, a former lawmaker for President Zelensky’s party who had joined the Russian-backed Kherson administration. He was shot on August 30.
Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of the Russian-appointed administration in Kherson, said“This will be a practical decision, because we don’t jump the wagon.”
In an interview with Russia’s state-run television network Rossiya-1, he said that the occupation forces had to make the population “understand that we are not enemies — we are the ones liberating them.”
There were to be referendums for Kherson this month, and also for the Zaporizhzhia region and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, but part of the Donetsk oblast (province) remains free, and the Russian forces have been given a deadline of September 15 to take the remaining territory to allow the referendum to take place to coincide with Russia’s local elections.
Russian Forces Refusing to Fight in Ukraine?
The Ukrainian military southern command said on Monday, according to their sources, that the 127th Regiment of Russia’s 1st Army Corp had refused to fight. It was the second time they claimed that a Russian unit refused to fight. There was a video several weeks ago where a Russian unit was refusing to obey the orders of its battalion commander.
“One of the reasons is unsatisfactory all-round support: Personnel in advanced positions were left even without water,” the southern command said in a released statement. “The special services of the occupying forces took measures against the rebels — they were taken out of their positions.”
Ukrainian forces reported an explosion in the Russian-held area of Nova Kakhovka. In another action in occupied Kamianka-Dniprovska, Ukrainian Special Forces attacked and reportedly destroyed a Russian FSB checkpoint.
Expert Biography: Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. A proven military analyst, he served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer in the 7th Special Forces Group. 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.