EDF: Breaking through Russian defenses is a big challenge for Ukraine

Vahur Karus.
Vahur Karus. Source: ERR

Russia has constructed defenses on the southern front for approximately six months and breaking through will be one of Ukraine's hardest tasks during its counter-offensive, the Estonian Defense Forces Brig. Gen. Vahur Karus said on Monday.

Ukraine's counter-offensive has only just begun and Kyiv has hidden where its forces will attack, he said.

"The way in which the Ukrainians have played their cards, i.e. increased the pressure along the whole front — we are talking from the north down to the south — obviously does not allow Russia to really concentrate its reserves anywhere precisely. That's one of the key things that you try to hide as long as possible in your offensive, where your main thrust is going to go," said Karus.

Additionally, Ukraine is trying to find the Russian forces' weak points so it can push through in those areas, he said.

Some of Ukraine's biggest difficulties will be breaking through Russia's defenses.

"What we must not forget is that for at least half a year, Russia has very clearly been building defensive structures, or barriers, on the southern front, for example: anti-tank ditches, trenches, minefields, all sorts of things. Penetrating through that is one of the most difficult operations, especially if you're doing it against prepared defenses," said Karus.

Blowing up the Kakhovka dam is only good for Russia

While there has been no official confirmation that Russian forces blew up the Kahhovka dam, Karus said the act could only benefit Russia.

It would be very hard, and "a high-risk operation" for Ukraine to try and take back Crimea via Kherson, he said.

"The Dnipro River is very wide there anyway. The Ukrainians, it seems, have no reason why they should have done anything about that dam, given also that Ukraine needs the south to get the ports open again and the economy going and to influence Russia in Crimea. Now that the dam has gone, it very clearly could only really play in the Russians' favor," Karus said.

The decision to blow up the damn may not have been made by senior military officials, he said, it could have also come from a local commander.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Ukraina stuudi, interview by Reimo Sildvee

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