Will Ukraine be able to retake Kherson?

Will Ukraine be able to retake Kherson?

Thanks to the Himars rocket launchers, Russian supply routes are cut, but it is not clear whether the counter-offensive on the city on the Dnipro River is imminent or whether the artillery supplied by the West is decisive

The Ukrainian bombing of the Antonivskiy bridge on the Dnipro River, carried out yesterday thanks to the US Himars rocket launchers, has brought global attention back to the southern front of the war in Ukraine, where for some time the forces of Kiev have been preparing a counter-offensive to retake the city of Kherson. The Russians conquered it in the first days of the invasion but they never managed to overcome the clandestine resistance to the occupation: demonstrations, symbolic actions, sabotage and even real partisan attacks like the one that yesterday took place immediately followed. caused the explosion of a car carrying two Russian collaborators, reported by the Ukrainian media.

Ukrainian artillery has therefore cut off the supply routes from Russian strongholds to the east, leaving thousands of Russian soldiers in a precarious situation, the New York Times explains today, but Moscow is running for cover by increasing the military presence in the region, according to what says chief Oleksiy Danilov, head of the Ukrainian National Security Council.

The Kiev officers on the field are worried, the artillery pieces arriving from the West are distributed on several fronts, and the ammunition is scarce: “They give us a pat on the back and say to wait,” he told the New York newspaper Natalya Gumenyuk. spokesman for the southern military command “We need more than just moral support, even if we are grateful. We need real support, real weapons, real ammunition for those weapons “. In short, military aid would arrive too slowly, giving the Russians time to fortify the defensive lines. And it is the Himars, thanks to their great long-range accuracy, that make the difference.

“The city of Kherson, the most politically important city occupied by Russia, is now almost cut off from the other occupied territories,” says a British intelligence report. “Its loss would severely undermine Russia’s attempts to paint the occupation as a success.” A Ukrainian official who speaks to the New York Times on condition of anonymity confirms that with adequate weapons and equipment the defenders have the ability to drive the Russians out of Kherson, but did not want to specify whether the artillery already available is sufficient or not to give the offensive is under way and specifies that the situation on the ground may not remain favorable for long: the Russians are now weakened, but they are strengthening their presence in the region.

Helping the counter-offensive is geography: Kherson is on the western bank of the Dnipro River, a position that makes it difficult to defend against an attack from the West. Furthermore, the Dnipro cuts the entire country in two longitudinally, returning to control all the territories to the west of the river would be the good news that the Ukrainians need after months of brutal fighting.

Whatever the timing of the counter-offensive, the head of the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mykhailo Podolyak, on Twitter is a bully: “You can’t escape reality: the occupiers should learn to swim to cross the Dnipro River. Or they should. leave Kherson while it is still possible. There may not be a third warning. “

In general, there is a sense among analysts that the war is entering a new phase. Phillips O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, spoke about it in Bloomberg in recent days: initially, Russian forces tried in vain to take Kiev with a lightning operation. Then they retreated to the east, making their way with massive use of artillery, but after the capture of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, Moscow no longer showed that it could make significant advances. “If the reduction of Russian firepower in the Donbass continues, that front is basically frozen and the question becomes: can the Ukrainians repel them?” O’Brien wonders.