The current developments in southern Ukraine show how difficult it is not only for Russia in this war to advance into enemy-controlled territory. There the Russian troops had conquered considerable areas in the first days of the war (see our map below). In the course of this, Moscow had also occupied the strategically important city of Kherson. Apart from Mariupol, this is the only major city that Putin has been able to conquer so far.

Strategically important because it is on the way towards Odessa. The idea: From Kherson, Russian troops could carry out an attack on the well-known port city and – with the support of the Russian Black Sea Fleet – continue to conquer the coast as far as pro-Russian Transnistria and at the same time completely cut off Ukraine from the sea. At least that’s Moscow’s plan. It turned out differently, the Russian units were slowed down.

For almost three months now, they have been trying to set up a pro-Russian administration in the city and prepare the territory of southern Ukraine for annexation by Russia. To prevent this, Ukrainian partisans are active in the city. To make this more difficult, Internet and telephone access was cut off by the occupiers. But pharmacies and supermarkets have also been largely closed since then, as reported by the “Washington Post”.

Also to disrupt these preparations, about two weeks ago Ukrainian troops launched a counterattack on the 200-kilometer-long front, which stretches far north to the city of Nikopol. In fact, successes here, like those of the Russian troops in Donbass, are tough. In about two weeks, the Ukrainians recaptured around ten kilometers of territory in some places.

Ukrainian units are said to be around 30 minutes’ drive from the center of Kehrson. The reason for the slow advance: Ukraine has moved troops from the south to the Donbass. Also, the Russians have now fortified their defense lines.

The situation in southern Ukraine shows that the war – should it ever turn in Kiev’s favor and larger counter-offensives become possible – will last for a long time.

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