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After Russia withdrew, the Ukrainian army planned its next move


KHERSON, Ukraine — The Ukrainian sniper adjusted his scope and fired a 50 mm round at a Russian soldier across the Dnieper River. Earlier, another Ukrainian used a drone to hunt down the Russian army.

Two weeks after retreating from the southern city of Kherson, Russia is shelling the town as they dig deep across the Dnieper River.

Ukraine is hitting back against the Russian military with its own long-range weapons, and Ukrainian officers say they want to capitalize on their momentum.

Russia’s withdrawal from the only provincial capital it had won during the nine-month war was one of Moscow’s most significant battlefield losses. The Ukrainian military through a spokesman said that now their army is holding a new front line, the army is planning the next step.

Ukrainian forces are now able to strike deeper into Russian-controlled territories and could push their counterattack closer to Crimea, which Russia illegally occupied in 2014.

The Russian military continues to establish fortifications, including a system of trenches near the border with Crimea and some areas between Donetsk and Luhansk in the east.

According to the British Ministry of Defense, in some locations the new fortifications were as far as 60 kilometers (37 miles) behind the current front line, suggesting that Russia was preparing for further Ukrainian breakthroughs.

“Ukrainian armed forces took the initiative in this war some time ago,” said Mick Ryan, a retired Australian military strategist and major general. They are motivated. There’s no way they would want to waste that.

Crossing the river and pushing the Russians further back would require complex logistical planning. Both sides blew up the bridges over the Dnieper.

“This is what has cut off Russian supply lines and this is also what will set any further Ukrainian advance aside,” said Mario Bikarski, an analyst with the Economic Intelligence Unit. the other side of the river becomes more difficult”.

In a major battlefield development this week, Kyiv’s forces attacked Russian positions on Kinburn Spit, a gateway to the Black Sea basin, as well as parts of the southern Kherson region still under Russian control. The recapture of the area could allow Ukrainian forces to enter Russian-controlled territory in the Kherson area “under significantly less Russian artillery fire” than if they had crossed the Dnieper River directly, the Research Institute said. War Studies, a Washington-based think tank. Control of the area would help Kiev reduce Russian attacks on Ukraine’s southern ports and allow the country to increase its naval activity in the Black Sea, the think tank added.

The ISW said some military experts believe there is a possibility that the weather could disproportionately damage Russian forces that are poorly equipped and allow Ukraine to take advantage of the frozen terrain and move more easily than it does. with the muddy autumn months.

Meanwhile, Russia’s main task is to prevent any further retreat from the wider Kherson region and strengthen its defenses towards Crimea, analyst Bikarski said. Ryan, the military strategist, said Russia will use the winter to plan attacks in 2023, stockpile ammunition and continue the campaign to target critical infrastructure including military bases. power and water plants.

Daily Russian attacks have intensified. Last week, a fuel depot was attacked in Kherson, for the first time since Russia withdrew its troops. At least one person was killed and three wounded this week by Russian shelling, the Ukrainian president’s office said. Russian air strikes damaged critical infrastructure before Russia left, creating a severe humanitarian crisis. Many who have passed the Russian occupation and are leaving, or are considering it, say that along with the threat of attack, that adds another layer of tension.

Ukrainian authorities this week began evacuating civilians from newly liberated areas of Kherson and Mykolaiv, fearing a lack of heat, electricity and water due to Russian shelling will make winter uninhabitable. .

Boarding the train on Monday, Tetyana Stadnik decided to go after waiting for Kherson’s release.

“We’re leaving now because it’s scary to sleep at night. Bullets were flying over our heads and exploding. Too much,” she said. “We’ll wait until things get better. And then we’ll go home.”

Others in the Kherson region decided to stay despite living in fear.

“I am afraid,” said Ludmilla Bonder, a resident of the small village of Kyselivka. “I’m still wearing my pajamas in the basement.”

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