Video footage shared online this week shows Ukrainian forces putting up a fight in “annexed” Kherson Oblast, with Russian positions being repeatedly struck by missiles as soldiers fire shots at the Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) October 6, 2022
The video, which contains multiple clips of a Russian position in Kherson Oblast, appears to have been recorded by rotary-blade UAVs. It shows Russian military vehicles and howitzers being struck by Ukrainian ammunition, and Russian soldiers hiding and fleeing as the strikes occur.
The video was initially shared on the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine official Facebook page, accompanied by a caption that reveals the attacks were the work of the 59th Motorized Brigade.
Another video shared by the 59th Motorized Brigade offers a closer, ground-level look at the conflict in Kherson. The brigade used captured Russian equipment to assemble an anti-tank assault on Russian positions in the region, claiming to have used an MT-12 Rapira anti-tank gun fitted to an MT-LB army tractor.
The video shows Ukrainian vehicles traversing a rural landscape in Kherson before stopping, firing at a Russian position, and then unloading more than a dozen armed foot soldiers.
“Victory is not easy. How is the return of our land, at what cost is every piece of it won back – action from our soldiers from the front line. Don’t forget who made your city quiet,” a caption accompanying the post reads.
Russians Mostly Abandoning Kherson
Britain’s Ministry of Defence claimed on Thursday that the situation in Kherson was so bad for Russian forces that most troops were retreating from the region.
In an intelligence update, the British ministry said that Ukrainian forces were making significant gains in southeastern Ukraine and have started a “new phase of offensive operations” as of October 2.
“Advancing south, Ukrainian units have pushed the front line forwards by up to 20km, primarily making gains along the east bank of the Inhulets and west bank of the Dnipro, but not yet threatening the main Russian defensive positions,” the update reads.
The British intelligence suggests that Russian forces are mainly retreating from the region, given that Russia has already committed a majority of its “severely undermanned airborne forces” to the defense of Kherson already.
“Therefore, Russia currently has few additional, high quality rapidly deployable forces available to stabilize the front: it likely aims to deploy mobilized reservists to the sector,” the update also reads.
With no rapidly deployable forces readily available to resist Ukrainian advances, Russia could be set to lose yet more territory in Kherson until reservists arrive in southeastern Ukraine – and there’s no certainty that reservists will have the weaponry and equipment necessary to regain that ground once it’s lost.
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.