Kiev/Moscow, Nov 15 (EFE). – Ukraine has opened a new chapter in its counteroffensive, confirming its advance south of the Dnieper River in the Kherson region, while resisting Russian attacks in Donbass, especially in the Avdivka sector, where one of the fiercest battles of the war is being fought.
The presence of Ukrainian troops on the southern bank of the Dnieper was indirectly ratified on Wednesday by the Russian-imposed governor of the annexed Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, who assured that the Ukrainian forces “have no chance of winning” space for their operations.
“Obviously, these plans, like Operation Barbarossa (Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union), have failed,” Saldo wrote on his Telegram channel, adding that “even the marines,” who make up “two-thirds of those mobilized” due to casualties, “do not want to fight.”
According to the US think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW), “Ukrainian forces have been conducting larger-than-usual ground operations on the eastern bank of Kherson Oblast since mid-October 2023.
In its latest report on the war in Ukraine, the ISW claims that “Ukrainian troops appear capable of maintaining and consolidating their current positions on the Russian-controlled side of the Dnieper, where they have managed to advance between 2 and 4 kilometers in some sectors.
The front line is already in New Kakhovka, says Kiev
New Kakhovka, a city on the southern bank of the Dnieper River, whose dam is controlled by Russia, is already on the front line, said Mayor Volodymyr Kovalenko, quoted by the official Ukrainian agency UNIAN.
Russian troops “have turned the city into a garbage dump. They have installed mortars or machine guns on the second floors and roofs of residential buildings,” denounced the mayor, who said he receives information from the city on a daily basis.
Kovalenko added that there are hardly any officers left in New Kakhovka, and the Russian military contingent consists mainly of private soldiers and non-commissioned officers.
Russia tries to regain the initiative
On the eastern front, the Russian army has intensified its attacks, especially in the Avdivka sector, a Ukrainian stronghold about 10 kilometers north of Donetsk, capital of the region of the same name, controlled by Russia since 2014.
The ISW stressed that the goal of these efforts by Russian troops is to regain the initiative at the theater level to regain the initiative, but according to Kiev, they are costing them a large number of casualties.
“Russian attacks are very intense, especially in the Donetsk region,” admitted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenkiy in his address to the nation last night.
The president explained the intensity of the attacks by the need for Russian President Vladimir Putin to show some progress in the coming weeks before he announces, as he is expected to do, that he will run for re-election in next March’s.
“We have to understand that Putin now has a very cynical, specific political goal and is willing to kill as many of his people as he wants because he wants to show at least some tactical result in the first half of December. He wants to announce his elections at that time,” Zelensky stressed.
He claimed that Russia was suffering massive losses in eastern Ukraine, equating them with Russia’s losses in the Battle of Bakhmut, considered one of the bloodiest to date.
“Russian troops are losing personnel and equipment near Avdiivka faster and to a greater extent than near Bakhmut,” Zelensky said.
The Ukrainian president warned again Wednesday that Russia is stockpiling missiles to repeat the massive bombing campaign against Ukraine’s electrical and thermal infrastructure that left thousands of Ukrainians without light and heat last fall and winter.
Meanwhile, weather forecasts indicate that temperatures in some regions of Ukraine will drop to 14 degrees below zero at night by the end of the month. EFE