Kiev prepares a counteroffensive to weaken Putin’s troops and regain the region that has been in Russian hands since the beginning of the conflict.
After six months of conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the war in Eastern Europe has reached a new phase. if at the beginning Vladimir Putin he thought he would dominate the region in three days and then focused his forces on the east of the country, more precisely on Donbass, now the strategy involves the south. “Russian forces are undergoing a massive re-routing of troops to three regions in southern Ukraine, in what appears to be a change in tactics by Moscow,” said a senior adviser to the Ukrainian president. Volodymyr Zelenskyon Wednesday, the 27th. This turning point comes days after Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, informed that the Russians intend to take control of the government.
The official also added that Russia appeared to be shifting from an offensive to a defensive strategy, using tactical strikes to weaken Ukraine’s offensive potential in the crucial eastern industrial region of Donetsk. “That would put us in a position where we wouldn’t be able to liberate all of our territory and call for negotiations,” he said. Russian forces have seized Ukraine’s second-largest power plant, presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in an interview posted on YouTube. Russian-backed forces had previously announced the capture of the Soviet-era coal-fired Vuhlehirsk plant in eastern Ukraine. “They got a little tactical advantage, they took Vuhlehirsk,” Arestovych said.
Ukraine has made it clear that it intends to regain control of this part of the country that has been in Russian hands since the beginning of the wars. To achieve its objective, it intensified efforts by trying to bomb and isolate Russian troops in areas of difficult resupply. Russia said it was not bothered by Ukraine’s efforts and the Russian Defense Ministry said its planes attacked a Ukrainian infantry brigade in the far north of Kherson and killed more than 130 soldiers in the last 24 hours. “Zelensky’s statement that the region will be liberated in three to six weeks is… a lie,” said Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-appointed military-civilian administration to command the Kherson region. “All these counter-offensives that result in a large number of Ukrainian casualties are coming to nothing,” Stremousov told Russian news agency RIA.
Ukraine, meanwhile, was not far behind, saying on Thursday that its planes had hit five Russian fortifications around the town of Kherson and another town in the area. British military intelligence, which helps Ukraine, said it was likely that Ukrainian forces had also established a bridge south of a river that runs along the border. “Ukraine’s counteroffensive in Kherson is gaining momentum,” it said in a statement. Ukrainian troops have used Western-supplied long-range missile systems to severely damage three bridges over the Dnipro River in recent weeks, making it difficult for Russia to supply its forces on the west bank.
British intelligence said the strategy was starting to isolate Russian forces in the Kherson region. “Russia’s 49th Army, stationed on the west bank of the Dnipro River, now appears highly vulnerable,” it said in an intelligence bulletin. The city was now virtually isolated from the other territories occupied by Russia. And, according to the British statement, losing that region would “severely undermine Russia’s attempts to paint the occupation as a success,” he said.
*With information from AFP