There is intense fighting along the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast. For several months now, Russia and Ukraine’s militaries have been engaged in a raiding competition of sorts, using small teams of special operators and conventional troops to attack the other side on islands and opposite riverbanks.
In the first half of September, this small-scale fighting reached another level.
Raiding Along the Dnipro in Ukraine
For the most part, Russian forces in the sector have been in a passive state, but a recent reorganization in the structure of the Russian forces fighting in Ukraine changed that.
“There is a realistic possibility that Russian operations in the area have been energized since the sector came under the responsibility of the newly created 40th Army Corps,” British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
The Russian military has had to make a tough choice: Send units in Kherson to fend off the Ukrainian raids or relocate them farther to the east to plug holes in the defensive line caused by Kyiv’s counteroffensive.
“The number of forces involved are relatively small compared to other fronts; however, both sides see the area as strategically important. It also provides the opportunity to draw their adversary’s units away from the intense combat in Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk oblasts,” British Military Intelligence added.
The Ukrainian military recently achieved a significant milestone when almost 1,000 Ukrainian marines returned from the United Kingdom after months of training in raiding and amphibious warfare operations.
The British Royal Marines Commandos, one of the best amphibious warfare forces in the world, took their Ukrainian brethren under their arms and gave them a crash course on commando operations.
Should Kyiv decide to commit its marines in the fighting for Kherson, Russian forces might be hard pressed to find solutions with their current force structure. They would likely require further reinforcements.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
Meanwhile, on day 573 of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military and pro-Russian separatist forces continue to take significant casualties in the fighting on the ground.
Over the past 24 hours, Russian forces lost a little over 500 men killed, wounded, or captured. They also lost almost 100 heavy weapons systems, drones, and vehicles.
The Russian Ministry of Defense continues to relocate forces around the battlefield to plug the gaps created by the steady attrition its forces have been suffering in the heavy fighting on the ground.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 273,460 Russian troops. They also claim they have destroyed 322 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets; 316 attack and transport helicopters; 4,628 tanks; 6,062 artillery pieces; 8,851 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles; 778 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems; 20 boats and cutters; 8,601 vehicles and fuel tanks; 526 anti-aircraft batteries; 4,784 tactical unmanned aerial systems; 903 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems; and 1,479 cruise missiles shot down by Ukrainian air defenses.
A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations and a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ). He holds a BA from the Johns Hopkins University, an MA from the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and is pursuing a J.D. at Boston College Law School. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.