A Blog by Jonathan Low

 

Jun 18, 2022

How the Ukrainian Advance On Kherson Is Accelerating

The real Ukrainian advances near Kherson, which could cut Putin's vaunted land bridge from Russia to Crimea are becoming more compelling than the now four week old stories about the Russian army ostensibly being "poised" - perpetually - to take Severodonetsk, making it the "Waiting for Godot" of military maneuver. JL 

Mark Sumner reports in Daily Kos,image Sergey Bobuk, AFP:

Ukraine is now placing serious pressure on Russian forces in the city of Kherson. From the positions they hold, Ukraine is blasting artillery into Russian positions near Kherson airport. But even more telling, Ukraine is now striking positions all the way across the river. The Ukrainians include newly trained forces driving freshly donated Polish T72 tanks, U.S. M113 armored carriers, and a variety of new infantry fighting vehicles. These forces are doing well as the facing troops are reported to be conscripts from Luhansk. Ukraine (may now look) for potential change of control along the coast.

It has now been two full months since Russian forces completely withdrew from the areas around Kyiv, Sumy, and Chernihiv. In the process, Russia left behind an amazing collection of ruined vehicles, a maddening series of ruined villages, and sickening evidence of massive war crimes. 

In the time since what the media had treated as Russia’s unstoppable “convoys” turned around and rolled back to Belarus, Russia has made significant gains in eastern Ukraine. But all the area gained over the last two months is only a fraction of what Russia surrendered over a period of a week after the assault on Kyiv failed.

Also in that period, Ukraine has launched counteroffensives both north of Kharkiv and west of Kherson. In both cases, pro-Russian sources dismiss these counteroffensives as “failures” because they failed to drive Russian forces completely out of the Kharkiv area and failed to capture the city of Kherson. But expecting either of those things to occur quickly is setting up false expectations. At Kherson, Ukraine is working to retake a large city without doing to that city what Russia did in Mariupol or Popasna. North of Kharkiv also goes by the quaint regional name of Russia. The remaining areas that are being fought over there at the moment are so close to the border that Russia’s supply line follies simply don’t matter.

It would be exciting for either of these counteroffensives to really catch fire and see the same kind of progress they did in their first days. That’s unlikely. But … hang on. What’s that?

KHERSON

Two days ago, when we updated maps to include Ukrainian control of a series of towns and villages along the southern half of the line in Kherson oblast, I said that I was the least confident of that map than any I had put out. However, I can now say … that map was good. Over the next 24 hours after the map came out, there was nothing but sweet confirmation of the reported positions.

Southern end of Kherson oblast.

Even better: Ukraine is now advancing from those positions, placing serious pressure on Russian forces in the city of Kherson. The three main towns captured two days ago were Soldatske, Pravdyne, and Oleksandrivsk. Now Ukrainian forces are reported to be holding the village of Myrne. Fighting still continues at Kyselivka on the north end of this area, and at Stanislav on the south, but in the middle Ukrainian forces have reportedly moved across fields to threaten a critical Russian position at Tomyna Balka. 

From the positions they now hold, Ukraine is blasting artillery into Russian positions near Kherson airport. But even more telling, Ukraine is now striking positions all the way across the river (those flame icons on the lower right)—presumably counterbattery fire at Russian positions way over there. 

Related to those long-distance shots are reports that the Ukrainian forces fighting at Stanislav include newly trained forces driving freshly donated Polish T72 tanks, U.S. M113 armored carriers, and a variety of new infantry fighting vehicles. These forces are doing well as the facing troops are reported to be conscripts sent from Luhansk. In some reports, Ukraine has now cut off Russian forces at Stanislav and neighboring Shyroka Balka, so look for potential change of control along the coast in the next day.

The three critical points in this area outside of Kherson itself, are Kyselivka, where Ukraine has been fighting for over a day; Tomyna Balka; and the area right around the airport and Chornobaivka, which Russia has reportedly fortified to withstand a Ukrainian assault. 

How much has changed here? A week ago, this whole map—with the exception of a small area reaching out toward Oleksandrivsk—would have been red. The gains around Kherson aren’t spectacular … because they’re not Kherson. But they are significant, and all indications are that Ukraine is still moving forward.


I’ve been ecstatic in the past when I managed to locate the site of a skirmish based on a road intersection and a few buildings. However, that’s nothing compared to what the really dedicated folks working on geolocation can do

1 comments:

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