After withdrawing from the right bank of the Dnepr, Russian troops consolidate their positions on the other side of the river.
Since withdrawing from the city of Kherson, Russian troops have been working to consolidate their defensive positions on the other side of the Dnieper. The military expects the Ukrainians to eventually be able to cross the river.
However, military experts question whether these defense lines can really withstand a possible counterattack by the Ukrainians. Think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) writes in its report on SundayIf Ukraine wants to advance by road, Russian positions will be optimal for defense. But Ukrainian forces have already proven they can do it across the country.
Roadblocks rather than safety lines
Herein lies the problem. As satellite images show, the Russians have positioned their positions directly on roads, and trenches are built perpendicular to them. “They are therefore more like elaborate roadblocks than parts of coherent defense lines extending across several basic lines of communication and sectors,” ISW’s military experts further write in their report.
This leaves the edges of the fields open. According to ISW, it is difficult to secure this way. Even the anti-tank barriers that were erected did not reach far enough. If the Ukrainians moved across the fields, they could encircle the enemy positions.
Defense weakness at Kinburn
If the Ukrainians could cross the Dnieper at Nova Khakovka and simultaneously launch an offensive west of the Kinburn Peninsula, a complete encirclement would be threatened. The fact that the Russians see an attack at this point as a real threat confirms the structure of the defensive lines. This arrangement suggests that the Russian forces did not expect to hold their positions on the narrow strip of sand called the Spit.
If the Ukrainians do indeed mount a major offensive in the coming weeks, they will face poorly defended lines. Because Russian generals send inexperienced conscripts to the front lines to serve as “cannon fodder.” It takes significantly longer for them to be well trained and helpful. Time that the Ukrainians could use to recapture Kherson province.
Endless grassland, without adequate cover
The region is particularly important to Vladimir Putin (70) because it secures access to the Crimean peninsula. Crimea has been under Russian control since its annexation in 2014.
However, it is questionable whether Ukrainians will dare to cross a river in the near future. Even if they could cross the river, they would face the same supply difficulties as the Russians had before at Kherson. Last but not least, the almost endless grassland stretches out there – without enough cover. Added to this is the fear of mines or a Russian counterattack, slowing Ukrainian progress. (Male)
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