Russia could be about to withdraw its troops from another part of Ukraine

A damaged military vehicle is seen after Russian troops retreated in Balaklia, Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine on September 13, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

As Russian authorities continue to evacuate civilians from occupied Kherson in southern Ukraine, defense analysts believe the movement of people sets the stage for Moscow to withdraw its forces from a significant swath of the region.

About 60,000 civilians are expected to be evacuated from the western part of the Kherson region, on the right bank of the Dnipro River, to the eastern bank of the river in the next few days, and residents have been told to go to the rest of Russia. – Occupied territories.

Residents were told to leave Kherson after Russian-backed officials warned that Ukraine was preparing for a large-scale invasion. Ukraine has denied the evictions, likening them to deportation and asking residents not to comply.

Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-installed acting governor of the region, claimed that Ukraine was “preparing troops for a large-scale invasion” and that the evacuation was necessary because Russia wanted to protect its citizens. Meanwhile, his deputy, Kirill Stremosov, Said on Telegram Late Tuesday that “in the very near future, the battle for Kherson will begin.”

“We cannot rule out that both Kherson and the right (western) bank (of the Dnipro River) of the Kherson region will come under fire,” Stremosov said on Wednesday. On Thursday, he claimed that Russian forces repelled four attempts by Ukrainian forces “Go towards Kherson.”

For its part, Ukraine has disputed that migration proposal, saying Russia is trying to terrorize citizens and use deportations. “Promotion.”

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry declined to comment further to CNBC on the situation in Kherson, however, a sign that the military situation in Ukraine is extremely sensitive.

This seems to be the case on both sides.

Newly appointed commander of Russia’s armed forces in Ukraine, General Sergey Surovykin, described Russia’s “special military operation” (as he calls its invasion) in Ukraine as “tense” and added that “further actions and plans regarding the city of Kherson will depend on the developing military-strategic situation.” , which is not easy.”

More cryptically, he added: “We will act deliberately in a timely manner, rejecting difficult decisions,” but refrained from giving further details.

Setting the scene for the retreat

Given the invulnerable comments of Russian officials, analysts believe that Russia is now preparing the scene for an imminent withdrawal from the entire Kherson region.

Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War think tank say “Russian officials are setting up an information scenario to justify a planned Russian withdrawal and significant territorial losses in Kherson.” said on Wednesday.

It said recent statements by Russian officials “are an attempt to set the stage for a full Russian retreat across the Dnipro River, leaving the city of Kherson and other important territory in Kherson Oblast.” [province] To advance the Ukrainian army.”

Another retreat for Russia would be further humiliating for Moscow; Previous withdrawals of Russian troops from Kyiv, outposts Snake Island or Kharkiv – or “strategic withdrawals” as Russia characterizes them – have drawn criticism from the country’s military authorities and policy among the most pro-Kremlin figures in Russia.

The most recent humiliation for Moscow came when Ukraine flagged in the summer that it would launch a counteroffensive in the south, prompting Russia to redeploy troops there, only to launch a stunning surprise counteroffensive in the country’s northeast and allow it to retake it. A part of the region.

The Russian Foreign Ministry building is seen behind a social media billboard showing the letter Z – a tactical symbol of the Russian military in Ukraine – and the words “Victory is forged in fire” in central Moscow on October 13, 2022.

Alexander Nemenov | AFP | Getty Images

“Russian military leaders have clearly learned from past intelligence and operational failures during the recent Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kharkiv. [in northeastern Ukraine] And so perhaps trying to minimize the information and operational consequences of failing to defend against another successful Ukrainian advance,” analysts noted.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense agreed and said in its latest intelligence update on Thursday that it was possible Russia was considering withdrawing troops from part of Kherson.

The ministry noted that General Surovikin’s comments – as well as his endorsement of plans to evacuate residents from the region – “potentially indicate that Russian authorities are seriously considering withdrawing their forces from the area west of the Dnipro River,” though it noted. A trick can be tricky.

“The major challenge of any Russian withdrawal operation is to get the troops and their equipment across the 1000 meter wide river in good order.”

“With all permanent bridges severely damaged, Russia is likely to rely on temporary barge bridges completed near Kherson in recent days and military pontoon ferry units, which are operating in several locations,” the ministry said.

A false flag attack

Tensions flared in Kherson on Thursday after Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that Ukraine’s armed forces “attempted to breach the defenses of the Russian army” by “wading into the defenses” of Russian units near Sukhanovo in the Kherson region. The Russian military insisted that the defense front had been “fully” restored in the entire direction.

Concerns have now arisen that Russia plans to back off with a false-flag attack on the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant upriver from the city of Kherson, with the ISW think tank noting that “the Russian military believes breaching the dam can provide cover. preventing or delaying their retreat from the coast and the Ukrainian advance across the river.”

Russia has claimed to have “information”, but without providing any evidence, that Kyiv is planning to attack the dam at the Kakhovka HPP, while Ukraine has said that if Russian forces blow up the power plant, there will be a mass disaster. of the dead.

“Russian officials’ warnings about an alleged Ukrainian strike on the Kakhovka HPP are intended to set up information conditions for Russian forces to damage the dam and blame Ukraine for the subsequent damage and loss of life, all while using the resulting flood for their own retreat. Further south into Kherson Oblast.”

Source link

Leave a Comment