Putin’s focus on Donbas creates vulnerabilities in Kherson region – ISW

Putin’s focus on Donbas creates vulnerabilities in Kherson region – ISW

The decision of the Russian leadership to concentrate larger forces in eastern Ukraine to capture new territories creates conditions for intensified counterattacks by Ukrainian forces in Kherson region, where Russian troops are increasingly vulnerable.

“Moscow’s concentration on seizing Severodonetsk and Donbas generally continues to create vulnerabilities for Russia in Ukraine’s vital Kherson Oblast, where Ukrainian counter-offensives continue,” reads the latest Russian offensive campaign assessment by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

As noted, Kherson is critical terrain because it is the only area of Ukraine in which Russian forces hold ground on the west bank of the Dnipro River. If Russia is able to retain a strong lodgment in Kherson when fighting stops it will be in a very strong position from which to launch a future invasion.

If Ukraine regains Kherson, on the other hand, Ukraine will be in a much stronger position to defend itself against future Russian attack.

“This strategic calculus should in principle lead Russia to allocate sufficient combat power to hold Kherson. But Russian President Vladimir Putin has chosen instead to concentrate all the forces and resources that can be scraped together in a desperate and bloody push to seize areas of eastern Ukraine that will give him largely symbolic gains,” reads the report.

The ISW experts note that continuing successful Ukrainian counter-offensives in Kherson indicate that Ukraine’s commanders take advantage of the vulnerabilities that Putin’s decisions have created.

British intelligence also confirms these data. According to the latest report, although the occupiers conduct offensive operations in Donbas, they have to defend themselves in some areas.

Read also: Department of State: Russia's objectives of controlling occupied territories of Ukraine fail

The Armed Forces of Ukraine went on the offensive in Kharkiv and Kherson regions and achieved good results in these areas. They regained control of some of the occupied territories and advanced several kilometers toward the state border.


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