Ukrainian authorities report that Russian forces are pulling back in Kherson Oblast. Head of the Defense Forces Academy, Brig. Gen. Vahur Karus described it as a major challenge.
Karus said on the "Ukraina stuudio" talk show that Russian troops in Kherson are withdrawing because they're realizing that maintaining logistics has become very difficult, not least after the Kerch Bridge explosion.
"Ukraine has spent two months or more grinding away at the Russians' logistics, and a decision has to be made at some point. If you can no longer keep your troops alive in a certain area, you need to decide whether to leave or try and restore said ability," Karus explained.
He described the withdrawal as very difficult. "It will require proper synchronization, leaving behind a highly motivated contingent to cover the withdrawal and likely to be sacrificed at some point," the general suggested.
"Will the Russians be capable of something like that with forces that have been fighting for over seven months? I believe it will be their toughest test yet. Because handling it wrong or unprofessionally runs the risk of it turning into a general flight and panic.
Ukraine understands the nature of the war in the coming months
The weather will take an increasing toll on the fighting in the coming months. "The fall road deterioration season is starting that will affect operations. The other question is the start of snowfall," Karus remarked.
"Fighting in winter is very different from summer as snow cover could keep you from staging major offensives out in the open and contain you to roads alone. The hostile environment means that the survival of your machinery and troops could prove more decisive than your tactical genius. It might turn into a preservation operation where you need to have a very clear overview of what you're using, where and how," Karus explained.
He said that Russia has its 200th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade that specializes in Arctic warfare but has been worn out by the fighting. It is unknown to what extent Russian troops have practiced fighting in winter.
Karus suggested that Ukrainian troops understand the nature of the fighting to come.
"That is why they have requested winter gear for their troops as part of aid. Estonia has lent a hand there. They realize a soldier needs to be properly equipped to deal with a hostile environment only after which can you concentrate on eliminating the enemy."
Editor: Marcus Turovski