Russian withdrawal from Kherson is a game changer, says Ukrainian expert

The withdrawal of Russian forces from Kherson is a defeat that will shift the balance of power on the war front in Ukraine’s favor, says Volodymir Horbach from the Kyiv Institute of Euro-Atlantic Cooperation

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Jarosław Junko (PAP)
In this handout photo taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu speaks during his meeting with the top Russian military commander in Ukraine, Gen. Sergei Surovikin. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

The withdrawal from Kherson is a strategic defeat for the Russian army and President Vladimir Putin, even though the retreat had been expected for logistical reasons, a Ukrainian military expert has claimed.

Volodymir Horbach, an analyst from the Kyiv Institute of Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, offered his remarks in an interview with the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

According to Horbach, the Russian army on the western bank of the river Dnipro had faced problems obtaining supplies of ammunition, fuel, and food for months. This is because the Ukrainian army had succeeded in destroying bridges across the river and had attacked pontoon and ferry crossings as well. Winter was going to make these problems even worse, warned Horbach.

The effect of the withdrawal from the right bank of the Dnipro is that Ukrainian missiles will now be able to reach targets on the border with Crimea, said Horbach. The higher terrain of the river bank will enable Ukrainian HIMARS launchers to attack road and rail connections linking the Crimea peninsula with the rest of the continent.

He added the Ukrainian army is already firing on another important railway line for the Russians in occupied Donetsk. One of the reasons for the retreat, in the expert’s opinion, is the need for the Russians to throw more forces at the Donbas. 

Restoring Ukrainian control over Kherson will also limit the bombardment of the city of Mykolaiv, which lies between Kherson and the port of Odessa, Horbach said. However, he says that after Russian troops withdraw, the Ukrainian army should take its time to enter Kherson. This is because of the presence of a civilian population that requires aid and because the Russians will have left mines in buildings and other forms of traps.

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