Ukrainian offensive forces Russia to reinforce troops in occupied south | Ukraine

According to the deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Russia is moving large numbers of troops to southern Ukraine to fight against the country’s armed forces through the newly occupied territories and Crimea.

Should Russia win, it would try to capture more territory, Vadym Skibitsky said. “They are increasing their troop levels and preparing for our counteroffensive [in Ukraine’s south] and perhaps prepare to launch an offensive of their own. The south is key for them, mainly because of Crimea,” he said.

Confirming these reports in his recent national address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia was shifting troops from east to south Ukraine to advance towards the capital of Kherson region and the Zaporizhia region.

“Now the Russian army is trying to strengthen its positions in the occupied territories in the south of our country, increasing its activities in the relevant areas,” he said, adding that “Russia strategically has no chance of winning this war.” .

Russian troop movements come in response to Ukraine’s declared counter-offensive to liberate the southern occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporizhia.

According to the region’s military governor, Dmytro Butrii, Ukrainian forces have retaken dozens of villages and towns along the border and are pushing towards the capital of the Kherson region.

The Kherson region stretches across the Dnieper River in Ukraine. Earlier this month, Ukraine carried out precision strikes with US-supplied weapons on the Antonovsky Bridge in the Kherson region, damaging a key Russian supply line. The Washington Institute for the Study of War said Ukrainian forces and partisans also damaged the only two other bridges connecting occupied Kherson.

On Saturday, the Ukrainian military said it had killed scores of Russian soldiers and destroyed two ammunition depots in fighting in Kherson.

The first deputy head of the Kherson regional council, Yuri Sobolevsky, urged residents to stay away from Russian ammunition dumps, saying that the “Ukrainian army is pouring them out on the Russians, and this is just the beginning.”

According to Skibitsky, two weeks ago Russia withdrew tactical airborne troops from Donbass and transferred them to occupied Kherson. Russia is also moving troops from its Eastern Military District, which was deployed to attack Sloviansk, a city in Ukrainian-controlled Donetsk, and was held in reserve in Russia’s southern Belgorod region.

The open source investigative group Conflict Intelligence Team, Approved Skibitsky’s claim in part last week.

Meanwhile, a prison housing Ukrainian prisoners of war was hit in occupied eastern Ukraine on Thursday evening. Zelenskyy condemned the strike as a “war crime” and accused Russia of carrying out the attack to cover up the mistreatment of prisoners. Russia denied responsibility, saying Ukrainian forces hit the prison with rockets. Zelenskyy said at least 50 people had died. Ukrainian authorities say they don’t yet know the identity of the dead.

Despite moving its tactical battalion groups south from Donbass, Russia will continue to attack in the region, albeit with less intensity, Skibitsky said.

In the Kharkiv region, Russia is focused on defending positions and preventing Ukrainian forces from reaching the Ukraine-Russia border.

If Russia won the battles in southern and eastern Ukraine, it would pursue new offensives to capture more Ukrainian territory with units it is currently forming in Russia, Skibitsky said. “They are currently setting up rifle battalions of reservists in each Russian military district and a third army corps [Russia’s] Western Military District,” he said.

Training and equipping of the new corps had begun under the direct supervision of the Russian Defense Minister and Deputy Defense Minister.

Where Russia deploys the new corps will depend on how the battle unfolds in Ukraine’s southern and eastern regions, Skibitsky said.

He warned that one of the “advantages” of the Russian army was its ability to move troops and equipment quickly. He said Russia practiced this during pre-war military exercises, noting how Russian forces withdrew from Ukraine’s northern regions in March and reappeared in Donbass two weeks later. “We know that if necessary, they can return to Belarus in two to three weeks,” he said.

Skibitsky said that in addition to more weapons, Ukraine needs help training troops abroad. He said that Russia was actively attacking Ukrainian training bases and gave several examples, including an attack on a military base northeast of Kyiv that killed 87 Ukrainian soldiers in May.

According to the Ukrainian armed forces, Russian forces attacked a military base northwest of Kyiv last Thursday. It was unclear whether there were victims. Ukraine has not disclosed military casualties for strategic purposes since the war began.

MI6 chief Richard Moore tweeted on Saturday that Russia was running out of breath after losing dozens of men and that it was forced to use Soviet-era weapons.

Skibitsky said Russia was running out of high-quality missiles, but stressed that they had “a huge amount” of old Soviet missiles in their stockpiles. For the past two months, Russia has used Soviet anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles on land targets.

“They’re using rockets that are, say, past their sell-by date — over 30 years old — and therefore less effective,” he said. “But they’ve had enough and every missile works to scare the populace.”

Russia is ramping up production of new weapons, he added. In early July, Russia’s parliament passed war economy measures to force companies to supply the military with goods and oblige certain employees to work overtime.

Although Western sanctions against hi-tech components that could be used for military purposes have made things slower and more difficult, Russia seems to have found ways around them. The US authorities have blacklist Dozens of companies for helping the Russian military evade sanctions since the invasion.

“We’re heading into the winter,” said Skibitsky, who said Ukraine needs weapons and food and finance from the West to get through it.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian ships loaded with grain spent another day in port. The ships are ready to begin exporting goods, but the country is awaiting approval from the United Nations and Turkey, which brokered a deal with Russia to allow Ukrainian ships safe passage.

Deliveries from the ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi will be overseen by a joint coordination center based in Istanbul, which will involve Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN officials.

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