Ukrainian counter-offensive aims to retake Kherson province, push Russian forces across Dnieper river.
After months of anticipation, the Ukrainian military started its first large-scale counter-offensive against the Russian forces. The Ukrainian objective is to push the “Russian troops back across the Dnipro river and retaking the occupied city of Kherson,” the French broadcaster Euro News reported Monday.
Since late June, the Ukrainian forces have been using U.S.-supplied long-range missiles to soften front-line Russian positions and hitting deep within the enemy lines to destroy logistical and military targets. “Ukraine has been using sophisticated Western-supplied weapons to hit Russian ammunition dumps and wreak havoc with supply lines,” the news agency Reuters noted Tuesday.
News reports suggest that these precision hits were aimed at disrupting Russian supply lines ahead of the big push. The missile “attacks have forced the Russians to spend time and resources defending their rear bases, slowing their ability to move supplies towards the front,” the British newspaper Financial Times noted Sunday, just days ahead of the Ukrainian counter-offensive.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine have breached the occupiers' first line of defence near Kherson. They believe that Ukraine has a real chance to get back its occupied territories, especially considering the very successful use of Western weapons by the Ukrainian army.
— Stratcom Centre UA (@StratcomCentre) August 29, 2022
Kherson province, at the center of the current Ukrainian counter-offensive, is nestled between the Black Sea and the Azov Sea, giving Russia the strategic depth it needs to defend the Crimean Peninsula, which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
The Russian-occupied province, named after its capital city Kherson, makes up “land-bridges” to Crimea, which Russia needs for its Black Sea naval base.
— The NATO Situation Centre (SITCEN) citizen monitor (@NATO_SITCEN) August 29, 2022
Sky News UK reported the ongoing Ukrainian counter-offensive:
The Ukrainian military on Monday started a long-awaited counter-offensive against Russian forces in the country’s south, its southern command said on Monday.
Command spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk confirmed the offensive in a news briefing and said it included the Kherson region.
Ukraine has regularly stated its intention to retake its south, and in particular the city of Kherson, the only regional capital that Russia has been able to capture from Ukraine since it invaded six months ago.
The Ukrainian military claimed early breakthroughs in its attack on fortified Russian positions. “Ukraine’s military claims to have broken through Russia’s first line of defence in the occupied Kherson region,” the BBC reported.
However, Russian sources claimed that the first wave of Ukrainian attack was repelled, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy forces. “Responding to the Ukrainian claims, Russia’s defence ministry said that Ukrainian troops had attempted an offensive in the Kherson and neighbouring Mykolaiv regions,” the broadcaster added.
Ukraine has launched a major counter-offensive in the south. Reports of mass evacuation of Nikolaev and Novaya Kahovka which is being shelled by 🇺🇦. Beirslav car factory was hit by missiles (video). pic.twitter.com/AGIt6jEpmk
— Jason Jay Smart (@officejjsmart) August 29, 2022
Russia, China to Hold Joint Military Exercises
While Russia wages war on Europe’s frontier, it is stepping up military cooperation with China to secure its eastern flank. In early September, Russia and China will hold war games in the Russian far east and the sea of Japan. Both China and Russia have maritime disputes with Japan.
India, which took a favorable stance concerning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, will also send troops and equipment to participate in the exercises.
The Associated Press reported:
Russia said Monday it will launch sweeping military drills in the country’s east that will involve forces from China — a show of increasingly close defense ties between Moscow and Beijing amid tensions with the West over the Kremlin’s action in Ukraine.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Vostok 2022 (East 2022) exercise will be held Sept. 1-7 in various locations in Russia’s Far East and the Sea of Japan and involve more than 50,000 troops, over 5,000 weapons units, including 140 aircraft and 60 warships.
The ministry released a video of Chinese troops arriving in Russa in preparation for the exercise.
The ministry said that units of Russian Airborne troops, long-range bombers and military cargo planes will take part in the drills along with other forces.
The ministry said the Vostok 2022 exercise will be held from 1-7 September in various locations in Russia’s far east and the Sea of Japan and involve more than 50,000 troops and some 5,000 weapons units.
The drills will be conducted at seven firing ranges in far eastern Russia and will engage troops from several nations – China, India, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Syria.
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