Follow Related press, Kremlin backing officials have asked residents to use “boats to cross a large river to advance further into Russian-held territory.” Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials have voiced alarm over whether civilians are being “forced” to reside in Russian-controlled areas – for strategic rather than humanitarian purposes. Russia has denied those claims.
Ukraine’s military is working to recapture Kherson, which the country lost shortly after the conflict began in February. At the time, Russia was supposed to quickly dominate Ukraine’s defenses, but the fighting lasted for eight months, and the Russian military proved disorganized and inadequate.
In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin was forced to order a partial mobilization to replenish his country’s army.
In a statement to the AP, Oleh Zhdanov, a Ukrainian military expert, emphasized that time is on Ukraine’s side. “[It] just wait until Kherson falls into his hands like a ripe apple, because the situation of resupplying the Russian group of forces is getting worse day by day,” he said.
Zhdanov added that recapturing Kherson – a key area for water control in Crimea, which was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014 – would turn the Kremlin’s ambitions to conquer more south of Ukraine. “to dust”.
“Kherson is the key to the entire southern region, which will allow Ukraine to target important supply routes for Russian forces. The Russians will try to keep control of it by all means,” he said.
Volodymyr Fesenko, director of the Penta Center for Political Studies in Kyiv, also told The AP said that if Russia loses the city, “Putin will face a reputational loss not only at home but also in the eyes of China, and that could be especially dangerous for the Kremlin.”
Because of its importance, some analysts have expressed concern that Russia might try to destroy Kherson rather than surrender to it, even by blowing up a large dam. Russian officials have sought to blame Ukrainian forces in advance for targeting the dam as part of their counterattack.
As the fighting continued, Ukraine continued to fend off Russian missiles and suicide drones, which have caused significant damage in recent weeks. And analysts are keeping a close eye on Belarus, where Putin is accumulating thousands of soldiersraised concerns about whether the conflict would widen further.