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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Ukraine’s ‘Slow Death’ Military Strategy to Beat Russia in Kherson

War in Ukraine. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Ukraine's military firing artillery. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Is the Russian military getting ready to evacuate Kherson and surrender it to the advancing Ukrainians?

The data from the ground and the statements of the Russian military and Russian officials suggest that this is the case.

Imminent Evacuation of Kherson?

General Sergey Surovikin, the new Russian general responsible for the overall war in Ukraine, is creating the conditions for the evacuation of Kherson.

In recent comments trying to justify in advance an evacuation, Gen. Surovikin stated that the Ukrainian forces might use “banned weapons” in their attack against Kherson City and that the Russian military “can’t afford to expose the population to that [danger].” The top Russian officer in Ukraine added that Moscow must make some “hard decisions” soon.

On Tuesday night, Kirill Stremousov, a pro-Russian official in proxy Kherson government, send a dire message on the Telegram app warning the people in and around Kherson of the imminent danger of a Ukrainian attack.

“Dear residents of Kherson and Kherson region, according to our information, the Ukro-Nazis encouraged by the West will begin their offensive on the city of Kherson very soon. Shelling of Kherson cannot be ruled out. Shelling of the right bank [the western part] of Kherson region cannot be ruled out,” the pro-Russian official stated.

Kherson is the largest Ukrainian urban center captured by the Russian military during the conflict.

“For two weeks, we have been insistently recommending that people leave the right bank of Kherson region. We remind you that housing, which you may lose as a consequence of missile strikes and bombing by the Nazis, will be compensated by Russia in other Russian regions. I request that you take my words seriously and as a call for evacuation as quickly as possible. We don’t intend to surrender the city. We will stand firm until the end. We won’t let the Nazis into the city,” Stremousov added.

The Russian officials have started evacuating, in some cases forcibly, civilians out of Kherson.

A Slow Death: The Ukrainian Strategy

For the better part of three months, the Ukrainian military has been pursuing a long-range interdiction campaign in the south. Combing targeting intelligence shared by the West with the mobile M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and the heavier M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), the Ukrainian forces have been targeting and taking out anything of military value within range.

Ammunition dumps, fuel depots, air defense, command and control posts, electronic warfare hubs, troop concentrations, transportation infrastructure, and other targets have been on the target deck of the Ukrainian long-range fires. The result after three months of precision fire is that the Russian military’s lines of supply and communication in and around Kherson have been severely degraded.

The Antonovsky Bridge that connects the two banks of the Dnipro River has been severely damaged, making vehicle movement hard, if not impossible. With limited water-crossing capabilities, the Russian forces on the western bank of the river are facing the very real danger of being trapped once the Ukrainian offensive begins in earnest.

M142 HIMARS Like in Ukraine

M142 HIMARS. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

In terms of weapon systems and other equipment, the Ukrainian forces are geared to capture a large amount of material that can’t cross to the eastern bank of the river because of the damage to the bridges. Once again, the prospect of another humiliating defeat hangs over the heads of the Russian commanders.

Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.