World: Russian forces in Kherson alert as Ukraine plans next move

'We could die tomorrow': Fears of Russian retaliation in Kherson

  'We could die tomorrow': Fears of Russian retaliation in Kherson The Ukrainian welder pondered the afterlife while whispering wedding vows to the nurse with whom he had three children in just-liberated Kherson. Kherson now stands in the crossfire of a Ukrainian push into the eastern parts of its eponymous region -- and possibly even Crimea itself. The danger will linger because most think Ukraine wants to strike before the Russians have a chance to regroup."Russia gains more from a pause, which is why Ukraine has an incentive to keep pushing," said Rob Lee of the US-based Foreign Police Research Institute.

After recapturing Kherson city, Ukraine kept Russian forces guessing about their next move, pinning down occupying troops in defensive positions and rendering them unavailable for offensive operations.

Some 30,000 Russian troops that withdrew from the west bank of the Dnieper river earlier this month were entrenching themselves in the Zaporizhia and Kherson regions during the 39th week of the war, deputy head of Ukrainian military intelligence Major-General Vadym Skibitskyi, told the Kyiv Post.

“[The Russians] are waiting for our liberation offensive, that’s why they have created a defensive line in Kherson, another on the administrative border of [Kherson and] Crimea, and another in the northern Crimea region,” Skibitskiy said.

Putin’s Army Forced Childbirth Nightmare on Captive Family

  Putin’s Army Forced Childbirth Nightmare on Captive Family VELYKA ALEXANDRIVKA, Ukraine—Ukrainians are celebrating a huge victory in Kherson but after seven months of Russian occupation, the horror stories are just starting to emerge. Among them the tale of Olga Balan, a resident of the town of Velyka Aleksandrivka, whose husband was kidnapped by Russian soldiers just before she was due to give birth. “They took [my husband] Serhiy captive and tortured him with electrocution very badly for five days,” she told The Daily Beast as she cradled her 5-month-old daughter, Eva, in her arms. “These are incredibly horrible people. When they found people with Ukrainian tattoos, they would cut them out of their skin.

(Al Jazeera) © Provided by Al Jazeera (Al Jazeera)

“The enemy is on the defensive in the Zaporizhzhia direction,” said Ukraine’s general staff. “In the Kryvyi Rih and Kherson directions, the enemy is creating an echeloned defence system, improving fortification equipment and logistical support of advanced units, and not stopping artillery fire at the positions of our troops and settlements on the right bank of the Dnipro River.”

In announcing the withdrawal from Kherson city on November 9, the Russian commander-in-chief of forces in Ukraine, Alexander Surovikin, had said it would free up manpower to strengthen other fronts.

Russia has been prioritising the occupation of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the east, and Russian artillery fruitlessly pounded away at Ukrainian defenders there throughout the week.

The Russian army accused of burning the corpses of its own soldiers in a discharge from Kherson

 The Russian army accused of burning the corpses of its own soldiers in a discharge from Kherson © in Kherson, a discharge good. | Chris McGrathgetty Images Europegetty Images via AFP in Kherson, a discharge good. | Chris McGrathgetty Images Europegetty Images via AFP The Two Guardian journalists in reporting on Square , Lorenzo Tondo and Artem Mazhulin, explain that they have not been able to check the information with their own eyes, due to a very likely mining of the area, making it too dangerous for anyone.

Ukraine’s general staff said that continued to be Russia’s plan, but soldiers were resisting it.

“The command of the Russian occupying forces plans to redeploy separate units withdrawn during the retreat from the right bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson oblast to continue hostilities in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. The mobilised persons, most of whom make up these formations, are very indignant at the prospects of the implementation of the mentioned plans,” they said.

A possible further source of Russian restraint is that Ukraine has made no secret of its intention to take back Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014.

To get there, it must prevail over the remaining Russian forces in Kherson or Zaporizhia, and Russia appeared to anticipate an attack there.

Skibitskiy said the timing of a counteroffensive in Crimea would depend mainly on the “weapons and munitions” Ukraine would receive from allies, but that once these were in place, troop movements could outmanoeuvre those of Russian forces.

Putin’s ‘Hunky-Dory’ Act Flops as Frantic Russians Flee Crimea

  Putin’s ‘Hunky-Dory’ Act Flops as Frantic Russians Flee Crimea As Ukrainian forces gain momentum and push Russia’s military to retreat from territory stolen during the war in Ukraine this year, Moscow is working to signal that some territory it took from Ukraine is off limits. Russia’s Governor for Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, said Friday that Russia is working to fortify its defenses in Crimea, the peninsula Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014, as fears mount that Ukrainian authorities may have their sights set on seizing it back. “The security of the Republic of Crimea and its inhabitants is ensured through measures taken on behalf of our President,” Aksyonov said.

“One area where we have some advantages over the Russian Federation is very quick movement or regrouping of forces,” he said. “For example, during the preparation for [counteroffensive] operations in Kherson region, Russian forces redeployed battalion tactical groups from Kharkiv and Donetsk to Kherson and Zaporizhia for a month,” he said.

INTERACTIVE- Ukraine's south © Provided by Al Jazeera INTERACTIVE- Ukraine's south

“If the Ukrainians continue to fight the methodical, logistically centric war that they have so far, then their next move will probably to try and extend the range of their weapons to fully separate Russian forces into completely unsupported zones,” said Phillips O’Brien, who teaches strategy at the University of St Andrews.

That means driving a wedge through Zaporizhia to the Sea of Azov, cutting off Russian forces in Kherson and Crimea from those in Donetsk and Luhansk, he said.

Despite the mobilisation of 300,000 conscripts in September and October, Russia appears short of manpower – possibly because it cannot adequately equip those forces.

'We're free': Ukraine families reunite as Kherson train station reopens

  'We're free': Ukraine families reunite as Kherson train station reopens Tears, smiles and the occasional artillery explosion on Saturday greeted passengers as the first train in eight months pulled into the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson from Kyiv and families divided by war were reunited. She planned to board the train returning to Kyiv on Saturday evening with her son. "I just want to see him and tell him I love him," she added. - Pride -Just a few feet away on the platform, Lyudmila Romanyuk, 66, clutched a bouquet of flowers and grinned as she anxiously awaited the arrival of her granddaughter. "Her parents in Kherson don't know that she's coming... we planned it," she told AFP with a laugh.

Ukraine’s general staff said Russia was preparing legislation to conscript men in occupied parts of Ukraine next year, and was continuing to recruit prisoners in Russia.

They also said the Wagner group, which is credited with some Russian successes in the Bakhmut area over the past months, was enlisting mercenaries among factory workers in Belgorod.

“According to the agreement with the management of the Oskol electrometallurgical plant, workers of draft age will be involved in military training at the base of the ‘Wagner’ PMC for a period of 30 days with retention of wages … Upon completion, participants will be asked to sign a contract with a private military [unit],” the staff said.

Covert mobilisation was also continuing in Crimea, said the staff.

“In the city of Simferopol, on November 19, a meeting was held with the participation of the so-called heads of ‘law enforcement agencies’ with representatives of the city administration and heads of village councils. The main issue was the non-fulfilment of the determined quantitative indicators of mobilisation. From November 21, representatives of the so-called ‘military commissariats’ and the ‘police’ in the mentioned temporarily occupied territory started handing out summonses.”

War in Ukraine: What must be remembered from the day of Monday, November 14

 War in Ukraine: What must be remembered from the day of Monday, November 14 the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, went to Kherson, a city taken up by the forces of kyiv at the end of last week. © supplied by Franceinfo Three days after the announcement of the release of Kherson, Volodymyr Zelensky went to this key town in the south of Ukraine, Monday, November 14 . The Ukrainian president notably sang the Ukrainian anthem, while Russia still claims this locality. Franceinfo returns to the day on the war front in Ukraine.

Winter as a weapon

Russia has continued its hybrid war against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure using Iranian drones.

Ten million Ukrainians were left without electricity after dozens of Russian drones and missiles struck energy infrastructure.

The regions of Odesa, Vinnytsia, Sumi and Kyiv were most affected, but on November 23 power outages also spread to neighbouring Moldova.

Residents gathering at an aid distribution point receive supplies in downtown Kherson, southern Ukraine, Friday, November 18, 2022 [Bernat Armangue/AP] © Provided by Al Jazeera Residents gathering at an aid distribution point receive supplies in downtown Kherson, southern Ukraine, Friday, November 18, 2022 [Bernat Armangue/AP]

The World Health Organization warned that these attacks against energy infrastructure mean many Ukrainians face life-threatening situations this winter, when temperatures in parts of the country are forecast to plummet to below 20C (-4F).

Two to three million Ukrainians will have to leave their homes in search of warmer shelter, said Hans Henri P Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe.

“The devastating energy crisis, the deepening mental health emergency, constraints on humanitarian access and the risk of viral infections will make this winter a formidable test for the Ukrainian health system and the Ukrainian people,” Kluge said.

“Russia’s deliberate cruelty only deepens our resolve to uphold Ukraine’s fundamental right to defend itself and defend the rules-based international order,” said US defence secretary Lloyd Austin after chairing the seventh Contact Group of countries donating military aid to Ukraine. Ukraine temperatures © Provided by Al Jazeera Ukraine temperatures

Hours before Russia’s barrage of attacks on Wednesday, in a largely symbolic political move, the European Parliament declared Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” for these drone attacks, with 494 legislators voting in favour, 58 against and 44 abstaining.

“The deliberate attacks and atrocities carried out by the Russian Federation against the civilian population of Ukraine, the destruction of civilian infrastructure and other serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law amount to acts of terror,” the resolution said.

Looking ahead, Friday will mark 10 months of war. As the cold sets in, Russian President Putin is hoping Ukraine’s resolve will freeze – an unlikely scenario given the fight so far.

Igor Girkin was one of three convicted of murder over the MH17 attack and is the elusive figure behind Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine .
An ultranationalist former spy and self-described war addict, Igor Girkin is among three men sentenced to life in prison over the murders of 298 innocent people onboard MH17. With a $149,000 bounty on his head, he is yet to face justice.Just 55 men with a daring plan was all it took to change the world.

See also