Ukraine’s offensive forces Russia to strengthen troops in the occupied South | Ukraine

According to Ukraine’s deputy chief of military intelligence, Russia is sending a large number of troops to the south of Ukraine to fight against the country’s forces through newly occupied territories and Crimea.

If Russia wins, it will try to capture more territory, said Vadim Skbitsky. “They are increasing their troops, preparing for our counter-attack” [in Ukraine’s south] And maybe preparing to launch an invasion of their own. The South is important to them, above all because of Crimea, ”he said.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed these reports in his latest national address, saying that Russia was moving troops from east to south of Ukraine to move toward the regional capital of Kherson, as well as the Zaporizhzhya region.

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

The Russian military’s movements come in response to Ukraine’s declared retaliation to liberate the southern occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhya.

According to the region’s military governor, Dmitry Butry, Ukrainian forces have retaken dozens of villages and towns along the border, and are moving towards the regional capital of Kherson.

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

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On Saturday, Ukraine’s military said it had killed several Russian soldiers fighting in Kherson and destroyed two ammunition dumps.

Asking residents to stay away from Russian ammunition piles, the first deputy head of the Kherson Regional Council, Yuri Sobolevsky, said that “the Ukrainian army is putting it against the Russians, and this is only the beginning”.

According to Skbitsky, Russia withdrew tactical groups of air forces from the Donbass two weeks ago and transferred them to the capture of Kherson. Russia is also moving troops from its Eastern Military District, which were being used to attack Sloviansk, a city in Ukrainian-controlled Donetsk, and were in reserve in Russia’s southern Belgorod region.

The open-source investigative group, the Conflict Intelligence Team, confirmed Skibitsky’s claim last week.

Meanwhile, in occupied eastern Ukraine, a prison holding Ukrainian prisoners of war was hit Thursday night. Zelensky denounced the strike as a “war crime”, accusing Russia of carrying out the attack to hide the mistreatment of prisoners. Russia denied responsibility and said Ukrainian forces had attacked the prison with rockets. Zelensky said at least 50 people were killed. Ukrainian officials say they do not yet know the identities of the dead.

Skibitsky said that despite moving its tactical battalion groups south from the Donbass, Russia would continue to attack the region with less intensity.

In the Kharkiv region, he said, Russia was focusing on defending its position and preventing Ukrainian forces from reaching the Ukraine-Russia border.

If Russia wins the battles in southern and eastern Ukraine, it will pursue new offensives to capture more Ukrainian territory using units currently forming in Russia, Schebitsky said. “They are currently creating reservist rifle battalions and a 3rd Army Corps in each Russian military district [Russia’s] Western Military District,” he said.

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The training and equipping of the new corps had begun under the direct supervision of the Minister of Defense and the Deputy Minister of Defense of Russia.

Skibitsky said where Russia used the new corps would depend on how fighting developed in Ukraine’s southern and eastern regions.

He warned that one of the “positives” of the Russian military lies in its ability to move troops and equipment quickly. He said Russia practiced it during military exercises leading up to the war and described how Russian forces withdrew from the northern regions of Ukraine in March and reappeared in the Donbass two weeks later. “We know they can return to Belarus in two to three weeks if needed,” he said.

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

Last Thursday, Russian forces attacked a military base northwest of Kyiv, according to Ukraine’s armed forces. It was not clear what were the casualties. Ukraine has not disclosed military losses for strategic purposes since the start of the war.

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

Skibitsky said Russia was running out of high-quality rockets, but insisted that they had “large quantities” of older, Soviet rockets left in their stockpile. In the past two months, Russia has been using Soviet anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles on ground targets.

“They’re using rockets that, say, past their date of sale — more than 30 years old — are therefore less effective,” he said. “But they have had enough and any rocket works to scare the population.”

He said that Russia is increasing the production of new weapons. In early July, Russia’s parliament passed war economy measures requiring businesses to supply goods to the military and forcing some employees to work overtime.

While Western sanctions on high-tech components that can be used for military purposes have made things slower and more difficult, Russia appears to have found ways to avoid them. US officials have blacklisted dozens of companies to help them dodge Russian military sanctions since the invasion.

“We’re going into winter,” said Schebitsky, who said Ukraine would need weapons as well as food and funding from the West to achieve this.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian ships laden with grain spent another day in port. The ships are set to begin exporting goods, but the country is waiting for a go-ahead from the United Nations and Turkey, which struck a deal with Russia to allow Ukraine’s ships a safe passage.

Shipments from the ports of Odessa, Kornomorsk and Pivdeny will be monitored by the Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Center, which will include Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN officials.