May 30, 2023

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What Ukraine should do with Kherson: calm and unhurried

A member of the Ukrainian Volunteer Force stands next to a howitzer as Russia’s offensive on Ukraine continues. Kyiv plans an offensive to retake Kherson in the country’s south (Reuters)

In the coming years, the armed forces I take it They will line up at the door Ukrainian civil servants Learn from the commanders who stopped the march of the Russian army Kiev Y Odessa And caused more 60,000 people died in the six month war. However, there is one more big test: Ukraine wants to recover its territory.

There is growing talk in the city that the Ukrainian military is preparing for a counter-offensive Gerson and its environs, in the south. It damaged or severed most of the bridges connecting the city to other Russian-held areas, isolating Russian forces in the west. Dnieper River. It is shelling Russian ammunition depots and command posts with rockets. Ukrainian commanders are optimistic; One of them says the city could be freed by the end of the year.

This winning discourse masks a more complex reality. Russia is sending troops to Gerson and established itself. Urban warfare is slow and costly to the troops fighting it and to civilians along the way. Russia captured Mariupol, Severodonetsk And he has no qualms about destroying other Ukrainian cities in the process. Ukraine I would love it Gerson It will be the same. An effective Ukrainian counteroffensive is more like a protracted campaign of siege and attrition than a grassroots blitzkrieg.

When weighing the attack, Volodymyr ZelenskyChairman Ukraine, you have to find a balance. Its Western allies, in particular Europe, spiraling gas prices and loom shortages to deal with. He wants to show them clear progress. Even some of his own countrymen were restless. And he is willing to disrupt the rigged polls Russia It plans to justify the merger Gerson. “Let’s release it all”, he promised this month. But true Ukraine He needs more time to train soldiers, acquire weapons, and soften Russian defenses.

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right now, The battle seems to be a stalemate. Russian advance in the eastern region Donbass Slowed down. Ukrainian incursions to the north Gerson Failed in recent weeks. After six months of war, both sides are rebuilding their armed forces. Russia He would use the coming months to strengthen his defenses, resupply his battered legions, and replenish them with well-paid volunteers.

However, based on current trends, it is Ukraine It will be in a strong position to break the deadlock early next year. It has its own manpower shortages, but Ukrainian personnel receive basic infantry training Britain. The 10,000 soldiers generated by that effort will help Ukraine It is necessary for an attack to establish new regiments, although it will require the program to continue and then grow. Plus, more weapons are arriving every week. On August 8, America It announced its biggest export to date, including new ammunition for rocket launchers Himars They affected the Russian forces.

Ukraine’s partners should be patient; Wars don’t change on a dime. Western governments may be nervous about maintaining popular support Ukraine Heating bills rise during the winter months. Vladimir PutinChairman Russia, assuming without doubt that fatigue prevails. But the catch Gerson It’s not the only way to avoid it.

Spectacular attacks like Ukraine’s this month in Crimea, beyond the range of its known weapons, clearly demonstrate that it can outmaneuver its adversary and continue to retain the initiative.. The latest attack, on August 16, destroyed an ammunition depot and an electrical substation 200 km from the front line. The systematic destruction of Russian military power will eventually pave the way for Russia’s long-awaited territorial gains. Ukraine.

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