After the Russian withdrawal from Cherson and the subsequent recapture by the Ukrainian army, observers are wondering how Russia will react to this defeat. For military expert Mike Martin, however, that’s the wrong question. In a Twitter thread, he explains what it’s really about – and what the actual goal of Ukraine is.

“Momentum has been on Ukraine’s side for some time,” Martin wrote on Twitter. “The real question is what Ukraine is going to do now.” For the military expert, there are two obvious options:

However, a small, so far unnoticed operation by the Ukrainians could be a sign of what the real aim of the army is. According to Martin, landed on the Kimburn Isthmus, southwest of Kherson. Andriy Yermak, head of Zelenskyy’s office, tweeted three meaningful emojis on Monday evening: a wave, an umbrella on the beach and an arm in a victory pose. That led many of Yermak’s followers to believe the isthmus would be successfully liberated – which Martin says would have far-reaching consequences.

Now the fortifications that Russia has built in front of Crimea are practically useless, the military expert analyses. “But what does this attack show us?” asks Martin. “That Crimea is Ukraine’s strategic goal. And the reason for that is: She is Putin’s gravitational center of credibility. He received a massive boost from the 2014 cast. If he loses her again now, it could be the end of him.”

However, Martin suspects that the attack on Kinburn could only be a diversion to tie down Russian troops. The ultimate goal is a breakthrough near Donetsk to get behind the Russian front line. The military expert speculates that Ukraine will not let the winter stop it either.

Putin wants to tighten control of the flow of funds to equip the army. Trenches in Crimea can be seen on satellite images. According to a US general, more than 100,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or injured in Ukraine so far. All current voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found in the ticker.

After the recapture of Cherson, the question for military expert Mike Martin is not what Russia is going to do now – it is Ukraine’s turn for him. On Twitter he shows how the war could continue. His guess: Ukraine is targeting the “gravitational center of Putin’s credibility.”