The occupying power does not necessarily have to win the battle to inflict irreparable damage. They don’t even have to destroy the building. After all, they have something that gives them a leverage effect that is unmatched by people who give their all to be driven away: hostages. Thousands, even millions of hostages.
In the Kherson region, these hostages mean that, although Russia is free to release all the necessary artillery in Ukrainian positions, Ukraine is very reluctant to return its cannons back to the towns and villages where Russian forces are landing. As with any direction, returning a position requires more force than maintaining it, and if people on one side are more concerned about occupying an area without destroying homes or endangering civilians, these difficulties will increase.
What Russia did by occupying the territory was amputation. What Ukraine is trying to do now is an operation. It’s harder. It takes longer. This is cumbersome for those who want a quick response.
Unfortunately, this delay means that Russia is using its hostages in other ways. In several Russian-controlled areas, but especially in Kherson, these hostages are facing daily challenges aimed at breaking their will, changing their way of thinking and giving up hope.
Throughout the city, Russia is taking away signboards, papers and books written in Ukrainian and replacing them with those written in Russian. Citizens are being prepared to help with these efforts in an extremely effective way. Russian troops have set up checkpoints throughout the city, stopping and demanding documents from those trying to pass. People have been and still are being shot on the streets for being outside without proper paperwork. How to get the right documents? I agree to help transform the city into a Russian colony.
Schools preparing to reopen in the area are provided with Russian textbooks and a Russian curriculum, a curriculum that teaches that the Ukrainian people does not exist and that anyone who claims otherwise is a traitor. So far, only two of the 60 school administrators have agreed to join, but do not expect resistance to continue. In the early days of Russia’s occupation, Kherson saw many citizens protesting against Russia. Such events have become much less common, not because people there have decided that Russia is not so bad, but because they have seen hundreds pulled away so that they never show up again when they say something. , which is considered anti-Russian. or proukrainis. Russia often follows the model in Kherson, which is also followed in Moscow. Don’t stop people right away, but remove the words later.
From a distance, it seems ironic that people who point guns at everyday citizens demand papers and then take them away for any sign of opposition could claim to be “getting rid of the Nazis.” From close proximity, it just seems scary.
People in Kherson can now only get Russian phones. Just watch Russian TV. I only read Russian newspapers. Moscow has put in place procedures that will make them all “Russian citizens” in the coming weeks. There have been some pretensions that there is a “referendum” in the city to officially reconcile Kherson with Russia. But it is not really necessary. The Kremlin has said that Kherson is “Russia forever”. After all, this is a good, old-fashioned war of conquest, and Kherson is one of Russia’s fattest prizes.
Under the southern command of Ukraine, things are getting worse in Kherson. Russia has tightened the region’s borders, making it significantly more difficult to escape from the occupied territory. In fact, almost the only route available leads directly from Kherson and … to Crimea. Oppression of what Russia now considers dissidents is becoming increasingly difficult. The city’s transformation into a Russian outpost is accelerating. The number of missing is rising.
While Ukrainian forces are trying to move towards the city, Russian forces are engaged in a predictable response: they are questioning every village and town occupied by Ukraine, making the approach of the Ukrainian army something like a trumpet of doom. They cause destruction to escape from Ukraine.
It seems that in some areas, such as the bridgehead across the Inhulets River south of Davidiv Brid, Ukraine takes into account these activities. They do not drive to occupy and keep this city or others on the banks of the river. They do not drive from village to village on highways. They form a wide front, move across the fields, use the weather and terrain to move forward without causing unnecessary confrontation. But it cannot continue. No matter which way Ukraine enters the city, there will be destruction. Because Russia is not going to run Kherson without causing as much pain as possible.
The battles take place at so many points along the line between Ukrainian and Russian forces in the Kherson region that almost every intersection could be considered an active combat zone. At the northern end of the line, Ukrainian troops are still trying to seize Visocopolis, which Russia has turned into a regional link of command and control. The capture of this city could be particularly important in disrupting what is rumored to be another Russian race to Krivijhr in the north.
In the middle of the line, this bridgehead east of Inhulets continues to expand, despite Russia’s claims that it has been dismantled. The reports have moved far further south than indicated here, but without any details or confirmation, I am currently leaving the borders where they are. Even though these forces are driving hard on the bridge at Nova Kakhovka, according to many tweets and Telegram reports, it seems impossible for them to get there without first overcoming Russia’s significant defense systems.
At the southern end of the line, Ukrainian forces are again 15 km from Kherson. But right in front of them are two sets of Russian lines of defense. One just south of Kyselivka and the other just outside the city. As with the force south of Davidiv Brid, there have been confusing reports, including some suggesting that Ukrainian forces are in the immediate suburbs of Kherson. But there seems to be no evidence to support this claim. Now.
One point of contention is also confusing: there have been several reports of fighting in the Tamaryne area. Whether it reflects forces moving from the Snihurivka region, which is still largely in Russia, or whether it shows forces moving north in an unexpected direction, it is not clear how this relates to other activities.
At this point, Severodonetsk could just as well have its own “front” (although if Russian forces manage to approach Lysichansk from a different direction, that could change).
For anyone who thinks that all the foreign volunteers who went to Severodonetsk are missing, listen to the dialogue in this video.
For what is happening in the city … the fight continues. Russia and Luhansk nationalists have claimed that LNR forces killed Ukrainian soldiers in the industrial zone overnight. Nenotika. It has been said that Russia or Ukraine has “started to withdraw”. It didn’t happen. Russia still seems determined to occupy the city by an arbitrary deadline of 10 June. Ukraine still seems determined to fight it. However, there is no doubt that both sides and the civilians trapped in the ruined city are suffering enormous losses. Ukraine may still decide to withdraw and has the option to cross the river if the situation becomes desperate.
On Wednesday, President Volodomir Zelensky praised the city’s “heroic defense,” but also acknowledged that Russia’s force in the city exceeded Ukraine’s, and said withdrawal was an opportunity.
Despite the continued success of Ukrainian forces in the area, Russian troops in the Kharkiv region on Tuesday and Wednesday engaged in one they are still capable of: artillery and missile lobbying in the city to inflict pain and suffering on civilians. These attacks do not even look like a military target. They are just trying to hurt people. And as long as Russia stays at Lyptsi, less than 20 km from the city, they can do it easily and cheaply. That’s how they are.
Since Ukraine occupied whole and remote villages over the weekend, nothing has really changed in this area. Russia’s reports on Sunday said Ternova had been completely captured, but recent data showed Russia was “continuing to drive out the enemy” from Ternova. Which translates to: Ukraine is Ternova.
Perhaps the most interesting thing in the Russian reports is that they mention the battle of Siverskyi on the east bank of the Donetsk River near Rubizhne. This seems to confirm Ukraine’s continued presence on the east coast and in a place well north of what was previously known. Russia is also proud of the fact that they have mined all possible roads in Rubizny, which the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense complained about earlier this week.
Recent satellite imagery shows that the former Rubizhne Bridge is still unrepaired, but there has been too much cloud cover in the area in the last two weeks to determine whether Ukraine has built a pontoon bridge in the area. In any case, artillery fire at the bridge landing on both sides of the river continues to be intense. There was also an outbreak of artillery fire in the far east on Tuesday, which could indicate the march of Ukrainian forces near Bukhaviv.
The big news in Izyum is not good. Apparently, Russia has occupied Svyatohirsk, one of the last Ukrainian-controlled cities on the north bank of the river east of Izjum. But at the same time, Russia may have managed to gain power across the river to the village of Tetjanivka.
Pictures of late Monday, when Ukrainian forces were still fighting in Svyatohirsk, show that one bridge that crossed the river at the time was badly damaged but has not actually been demolished. The bridge may not be able to cross heavy equipment, but it is still strong enough for pedestrians and easier transport. It is reported that force descriptions in Tetjanivka would support this idea.
Ukraine has reckoned with crossing rivers to allow it to cause more disasters to Russia. They not only have to cross almost 100 m of water, but also to climb steep shores to get off the bridgehead while Ukraine watches from a height. If there is anything equivalent to free cross-river access for Russia, it is not a good thing.
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