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ISW: Russian milbloggers worried over Ukrainian assaults in Kherson Oblast

Russian bloggers reported that Ukraine seized territory in two villages east of the Dnipro River, in Kherson Oblast, expressed doubts about Russia’s strength in that direction.
Credit: ISW
ISW: Russian milbloggers worried over Ukrainian assaults in Kherson Oblast

Russian sources claimed Ukrainian forces conducted assaults across the Dnipro River north of Kherson on 17-18 October, ISW reported in its daily report.

A Russian milblogger claimed two Ukrainian assault groups landed on the east bank of the Dnipro River on 17 October and temporarily occupied parts of Poyma and Pishchanivka, Kherson Oblast, before being pushed back by Russian forces.

The Russian Ministry of Defense acknowledged Ukrainian operations near Pidstepne and Poyma but claimed Russian forces “stopped four Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance groups” in those areas, the ISW report said.

Russian sources portrayed the Ukrainian activity as part of a potential larger offensive operation across the river.

According to the report, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the Ukrainian activity in Kherson as the “next counteroffensive.”

In addition, as per ISW’s report, the condition of Russian forces on the left bank of Kherson may be a factor in Russian concerns about repelling a Ukrainian offensive across the Dnipro.

“The Russian command has drawn relatively more elite units from the Kherson direction to support defensive operations in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast in recent months,” the ISW report states.

The Institute for the Study of War admits it is difficult to assess the scope and prospects of the Ukrainian activity on the east bank on Kherson Oblast. “However, it is noteworthy that prominent and generally reliable Russian sources are discussing Ukrainian activities on the east bank as occurring at a larger scale than previously documented tactical cross-river raids by Ukrainian forces.

Other takeaways from the ISW’s report:

  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in eastern and southern Ukraine and reportedly advanced near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • Western media reported that the US has thus far provided Ukraine with a limited number of ATACMS missiles, and the Kremlin issued a muted response to the provision of these systems
  • Satellite imagery from October 17 suggests that the Ukrainian ATACMS strike on the Berdiansk airfield likely substantially damaged Russian aircraft and airfield infrastructure, but ISW cannot yet confirm the extent of the damage.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated his desire to deepen Russian-Chinese economic and political ties but did not announce any practical changes at the One Belt One Road International Forum in Beijing, China on October 18.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, in the Avdiivka direction, southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast and advanced south of Avdiivka.

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