As SOFREP has reported in the past 24 hours, Ukrainian Ground Forces are on the move for their offensive in Kherson and Crimea.
The British Defense Ministry reported that the Ukrainian armored forces continued their assault on Russia’s Southern Grouping Forces on several axes “across the south of the country since Monday.” And in the past two days, they have expected the push to be successful. Ukrainian officials support this notion, saying their forces have seen an uptick in the fighting around Kherson. However, Department of Defense’s Brigadier General Pat Ryder is doubtful of the scope of the Kherson attack. Another Ukrainian official speaking on the condition of anonymity claimed that their Kherson push was way too strong to be called a counteroffensive. This person added that it was beyond a “normal operation.”
According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the Russian Offensive Campaign focused on intensified strikes.
“Ukrainian forces have long undertaken efforts to destroy Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) prior to the announcement of the counteroffensive operation, which likely indicates that Ukrainian forces are committed to a long-term effort – composed of both strikes and ground assaults. Ukrainian strikes on Russian GLOCs disrupt the Russians’ ability to supply and reinforce their positions with manpower and equipment, which will assist Ukrainian ground counteroffensives. Satellite imagery shows that Russian forces are continuing to use ferries to transfer a limited amount of military equipment daily via the Dnipro River.”
— Special Kherson Cat 🐈🇺🇦 (@bayraktar_1love) August 31, 2022
The ISW added that though the blow is effective, this campaign could take time to execute correctly. Russian forces will have the opportunity to push their reserve forces. However, there are reports saying the recruits were considered old, inept for battle, and undertrained.
This campaign also pushed Russia to a corner, whose priority shifted from Donetsk City to Kherson. Still, they are now deprioritizing their advance in the region to sustain the support needed in Kherson and Crimea.
In addition to the large troops deployed in Kherson, Ukraine is also luring Russian forces with decoy HIMARS, according to Washington Post. The decoys are made of wood but are entirely indistinguishable from artillery when launched.
“When the UAVs see the battery, it’s like a VIP target,” a senior Ukrainian official notes. UAVs are unmanned aerial vehicles or drones.
These decoys are part of Ukraine’s asymmetrical tactic to waste Russian artillery and resources. Ukraine also successfully stopped Russian supply chains by blowing up railroads and electricity lines in Russian-occupied regions.
A US diplomat said all of these were attributed to Russia’s hubris when it came to planning this invasion. They have greatly underestimated Ukraine and NATO’s capability to support Ukrainian forces during the battle. Additionally, the US-donated HIMARS continues to be the MVP (most valuable player) in this war, even though Russia has claimed multiple times that they’ve hit HIMARS rockets.
“They’ve claimed to have hit more HIMARS than we have even sent,” said the US diplomat.
The Pentagon denies these claims as well:
“We are aware of these latest claims by Minister Shoigu, and they are again patently false,” said Todd Breasseale, the Pentagon’s acting spokesman. “What is happening, however, is that the Ukrainians are employing with devastating accuracy and effectiveness each of the fully accounted-for precision missile systems.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s expected to plug the gaps in its offensive by using the Wagner Group and the Eastern Grouping of Forces. Even though they have loyalists in Ukraine, these are civilians who did not sign up for the war. SOFREP also reported about Russian PR pushing for immigration as a way to improve their numbers.
“Russia continues to expedite attempts to generate new reinforcements for Ukraine. Volunteer battalions of the new 3rd Army Corps had departed their home base near Moscow by 24 August, likely for onward deployment to Ukraine.
“The operational effectiveness of these units is not known. The 3rd Army Corps is highly likely short of personnel and these troops have had limited training,” according to British Intelligence.
Lastly, here are the latest statistics on Russian forces’ losses:
- 1994 tanks
- 4330 armored combat vehicles
- 1103 artillery
- 288 multiple launch rocket systems
- 153 air defense systems
- 234 military jets
- 204 helicopters
- 851 drones
- 196 cruise missiles
- 15 warships and boats
- 3239 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 103 special equipment