Colonel: Russians know they cannot afford to surrender Kherson
Ukraine taking the military initiative means that Russia is not sure where the next hammer stroke will fall, while the Russians know that in order to secure their rear and defend Crimea, the Ukrainians must not be allowed to take control of Kherson Oblast, Col. Taivo Rõkk said on the "Ukraina stuudio" talk show on Sunday.
The Ukrainians' military success on the eastern and southern fronts means that holding position would be to the liking of Russian troops that are clearly tired and want a break in the fighting, the head of EDF Support Command said.
"At the same time, they know they cannot leave the Kherson area. It's just not possible. They have been building up their presence there but do not have enough to advance. Ukraine has proved itself to be unpredictable and much better than Russia at military cunning and operations. This might mean a surprise is in the pipeline. At least I hope that is the case," Rõkk suggested.
He said that Russia seems to be building up its troop presence in Kherson, while it still constitutes an additional front, with the main emphasis on Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. That said, Russia is keen not to surrender Kherson.
"The Russians cannot surrender Kherson as it is protecting their rear and Crimea. They cannot allow Ukraine to advance far enough for their weapons to threaten the peninsula. That is why they need to hold the right bank [of Dnipro/Dnieper] and not fall back to the left one," the colonel remarked.
Rõkk said that Ukraine is successful after realizing the weaknesses of the Russian military.
"If Russia is trying to suppress the will of the Ukrainians, what is war if not a battle of wills. The other thing that wars test is logistics. The Ukrainians have realized that logistics and command are major weaknesses for Russia. It is clear that the Russians are planning no major ruse in terms of hiding or logistics. They create large bases where they pile their resources, which make for easy targets for the Ukrainians, not least because Ukraine has access to Western information and intelligence," Rõkk said.
The colonel suggested that the Russians started the war based on false presumptions, which trend has not been broken.
"Putin lacks accurate information for making decisions, which is also the case for the general staff. Things started going wrong from day one, with Russia forced to reposition troops and the political leadership's goals not based on military ones. What they did in Kharkiv – this fixation with taking a region or city at all costs, irrespective of whether it has military significance," Rõkk offered.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski