We wondered earlier where Ukraine got the troops for its counteroffensive toward Kherson. Now we know:
Ukrainian forces launched a counter-offensive towards Kherson. The operation was supported by elements of 28th Mechanized Brigade that arrived to Mykolaiv from Odesa. Ukrainian troops pushed alongside road M-14 and liberated Posad-Pokrovske (in Kherson Oblast).
Ukraine must be feeling pretty confident of Odesa’s safety, and this essentially guarantees it. 1,500 Russian marines, if indeed they are floating off the coast of Odesa (they could be decoys to pin down defenders) wouldn’t get far in the city of 1 million. The only other Russian forces putting the city in danger where camped off the wrong bank of the Southern Bug near Mykolaiv, and they’ve now been pushed halfway back down to Kherson. What’s more, here we see Ukrainian artillery shelling targets overnight.
Ongoing artillery battle between Russian and Ukrainian forces between Kherson and Mykolaiv, where Ukrainian forces have been launching counterattacks in recent days. pic.twitter.com/kTQKTP1PkX
— Woofers (@NotWoofers) March 17, 2022
This doesn’t look like a Ukrainian army happy to simply keep Mykolaiv out of Russian artillery range. They’re softening up targets down the road, trying to break Russian morale, and with a coordinated uprising inside Kherson, there’s a scenario in which Ukraine marches back into the city with little bloodshed.
Lots of chatter (all rumors) that Ukraine is looking to bust the siege of Mariupol. Retaking Kherson would give Ukraine a chance to cut off Crimea (and supplies) from Russian troops operating north and east of it. This would force Russia to move troops from Mariupol back toward Kherson, making any move on Mariupol easier for Ukraine. Fingers crossed that I wake up to some good news on this front.