Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the Kherson region is on the rise. Ukrainian soldiers report on the challenges of fighting to recapture Kherson.
The Ukrainian counter-offensive in the Cherson region started on Monday: Ukraine wants to reconquer parts of the region occupied by the Russians. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, a 32-year-old Ukrainian soldier told the Wall Street Journal about his unit’s task: “Go in, finish them off and take back what’s ours.” The Cherson region had already been occupied at the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.
Since the end of August, Ukrainian units have been increasingly attacking Russian targets in the Cherson region and are said to have breached parts of the Russian occupying forces’ first line of defense. So far, only little information about the counter-offensive in Cherson has become known. The Ukrainian General Staff has called on the population and the media not to share details of the fighting and troops.
The Ukrainians have been reluctant to provide details, but Russian military bloggers are confirming progress. The Wall Street Journal was able to interview some Ukrainian soldiers while maintaining their anonymity in a hospital just behind the front lines in southern Ukraine.
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A private reports that his unit recaptured an occupied village in the first hours of the offensive: “The boys are in a fighting mood. You are moving forward”. Other troops have advanced towards Kherson and are trying to evacuate villages along the way, said the private, who was hospitalized with concussion.
Russian soldiers would flee their positions, leaving their equipment behind. The Ukrainian soldier also reports that Russian soldiers would booby trap the bodies of their dead comrades. Another Ukrainian soldier reports on the state of the Russian army: “They throw everything at us. They have a lot of equipment but few men.”
The Russian Federation is suffering from staffing and supply problems, according to the British Defense Ministry’s intelligence update. Above all, the bridges over the Dnieper, which play an important role as supply routes for Putin’s army, were badly damaged.
On Twitter, the first videos from the front show Ukrainian tanks advancing with infantry support. On the one hand, the Ukrainians would push the Russians back to the Dnieper from the west and north, and on the other hand, they would cut off supplies from the other bank of the river. Oleksiy Gromov, deputy head of Ukraine’s Main Operations Department, told Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform that most of the Russian Federation’s casualties are currently inflicted with airstrikes on command posts, positions and ammunition depots.
NASA satellite data visualizing fires indicates heavy Ukrainian shelling in which Western artillery could play a significant role. Another soldier told The Wall Street Journal: “We’re advancing in some areas and being crushed in others.”
The Russian Defense Ministry, on the other hand, already described the Ukrainian offensive as a failure on Wednesday. The situation report of the “Institute for the Study of War (ISW)” suggests that the Ukrainian army’s offensive is far from over: “Military operations on the scale of the ongoing Ukrainian counter-offensive have not succeeded or failed within a day or a week “.
The head of the intensive care unit, where some of the soldiers are being treated, was warned by the military a week in advance of the offensive. This fueled hopes of an early victory, the leader told the Wall Street Journal. But the case numbers of the Ukrainian soldiers are high: “But when they started bringing in such a large number of wounded, I honestly felt sorry for them and began to wonder if it was worth making such an effort,” so the doctor.
Ukrainian officials and military analysts told him that even if the offensive were successful, Ukrainian casualties could be high. The reason: “You need to attack an entrenched enemy with considerable firepower that can quickly destroy troops,” says the doctor.
The doctor often spends nights on a small sofa in his office after more than half of his staff stopped showing up for work following a Russian missile attack on the hospital in August. According to the Wall Street Journal, he feels like he’s on the verge of a breakdown because he’s dealing with more soldiers than ever before.
What impressed the doctor most was the wounded soldiers’ desire to continue fighting as soon as they were physically able. For example, one soldier says, “I want to go back to our boys,” while downplaying his injuries. “I wanted to return as soon as I had to leave.” Russia apparently did not hurt the fighting spirit of Ukrainian soldiers.
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