Ukrainian military officials believe that Russia is sending a large number of troops to strengthen the line near the city of Kherson to cope with the counterattack of Ukraine. Moscow has not yet commented on this information.
Oleksii Hromov, a senior official of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army, said that Russia is sending additional forces to strengthen the line in Kherson province to prevent Ukrainian troops from advancing towards Kherson city.
“The enemy plans to complete this task with the first partial mobilization and increase their numbers on the west bank of the Dnieper,” said Hromov, adding that there are now more than 40 battalion-level battle groups (BTGs). ) of Russia in Kherson province.
It is known that the battalion level of the Russian army usually has about 1,000 soldiers.
“The Russian government considers that the southern region of Ukraine, including Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv, is strategically important for maintaining the land corridor to Crimea and supplying water to the peninsula, as well as creating a springboard. future for the campaign to attack the provinces of Mykolaiv and Odessa, depriving Ukraine of its status as a maritime state,” said Hromov.
Russia has not yet commented on the statement of the Ukrainian military official.
Russian forces took control of Kherson province and its capital of the same name in February, merging it with three other Ukrainian provinces following a referendum in late September 2022.
Sergey Aksenov, the head of the government in Crimea established by Russia, on October 20 said that Kherson province plays an important role in the peninsula.
“Our common position is that defending Kherson province will ensure the security of the Republic of Crimea. To this end, we will continue to take all necessary measures, including providing maximum support to the troops. personnel and law enforcement officers on the front lines,” Aksenov said.
Meanwhile, the commander-in-chief of Russia’s special military operations, General Sergei Surovikin, described the situation in Kherson as tense and did not rule out the possibility that he would have to make difficult decisions.
“The situation in this region is very difficult. The enemy is deliberately attacking infrastructure and apartment buildings in Kherson,” said General Sergei Surovikin, the first commander-in-chief of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, shared. shared with Rossiya 24 TV channel on October 18.
Speaking to the media for the first time since his appointment earlier this month, Mr. Surovikin acknowledged the Russian military could be forced to make difficult decisions.
The commander-in-chief of the Russian operation added that Ukrainian forces are preparing to launch a major attack on the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station on the Dnieper River, as well as a missile and artillery attack on Kherson.
Ukrainian forces are stepping up their counterattack in southern Ukraine and are moving closer and closer to the city. Russian forces in Kherson have had to retreat about 20-30 kilometers in the past few weeks and are in danger of being cornered on the west bank of the Dnieper.
The city of Kherson is a strategic gateway to the Black Sea and the Crimean peninsula, as well as an important point for Russia to consolidate control over southern Ukraine.
The city is also one of the most important targets for the Ukrainian military in its attempt to regain control of the territory.
If Russia were forced to abandon Kherson, it would be a blow to Moscow’s forces and could mark a major turning point in the months-long conflict, analysts say.
Ukraine has been preparing for a counter-offensive in Kherson for months, ramping up raids on important bridges and military infrastructure, as well as bringing forces close to the city. Kyiv says it has liberated several villages on the northern outskirts of Kherson.
This could make Kherson the next focus of fighting in Ukraine after the counter-offensive in Kharkov and the eastern Donbass region has stalled.