Recent Ukrainian marine activities on the Dnipro River's left bank have caught the attention of Russian officials, sparking concerns over a potential large-scale offensive in the occupied Kherson Oblast.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has provided insights suggesting that Ukrainian marines have made significant progress in the region, causing Russians to reassess their defensive measures.
Ukrainian Progress Stirs the Waters
Geolocated images from October 18th reveal that Ukrainian forces have made inroads north of Pishchanka, an area strategically situated just 14 km east of Kherson and a mere 3 km from the Dnipro River, the media ISW says
Their advance also includes movements into the floodplain, which is approximately 11 km east of Kherson and 4 km from the river.
Russian sources, analyzing these developments, express apprehension regarding the ongoing Ukrainian activities.
They view these maneuvers not as isolated incidents but as possible indicators of a larger Ukrainian operation looming on the horizon.
Russian Defense Re-evaluation
ISW highlights a significant reason for Russia's concern: the potential inability of its troops to counter a full-scale Ukrainian offensive across the Dnipro River.
Over recent months, Russia had reallocated more of its elite military units from the Kherson direction to reinforce defenses in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
This shift was primarily due to the perceived tranquillity of the Kherson sector, which led to the area being guarded by relatively less combat-ready forces.
Now, with Ukraine's assertive advances, it seems that Russia's assessment might have been premature.
A Game of Strategy and Speculation
While ISW remains cautious about speculating on the scale and future of Ukrainian activity in the Kherson region, they have indicated that no firm bridgehead has been established by the Ukrainian forces that would allow a significant mechanized offensive.
Nevertheless, prominent and typically trustworthy Russian sources portray the Ukrainian moves on the eastern bank as more comprehensive than the previously documented tactical river crossings.
In this evolving landscape, one thing is certain: The chessboard of war has witnessed a new move, and the next steps promise to be pivotal for both nations.