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Why Ukraine’s southern offensive is proving more difficult than blitzkrieg attack in north | Stuart Ramsay

We waited at the checkpoint close to the Ukrainian defensive line for the south counter-offensive.

Although we had permission to go, the soldiers weren’t happy so all permissions had to again be checked.

The Ukrainian military and government have almost completely blocked information about the counter-attack from the south that claimed Kherson, a Russian-held city, as its prize.



Putin to address nation for the first time since invasion. Live updates

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As dozens of trucks, wagons and tanks passed us, we watched.

We could not film because one cannot at checkpoints anyway. That is the rule. I could see dust rising above the wheatfields to the left of the crossroads. This indicated a large convoy.

A series of large trucks hauling a payload with western-supplied weapons systems rolled down the road.

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Their cargo is what has allowed Ukraine to mount counter-offensives in both the north and the south. They passed by, although we couldn’t film them. They are active and the systems are there.

The southern offensive is more difficult than the blitzkrieg assault in the north. There are a few reasons why this is so. They are simple.

Image: Major SerhiiTsehotskii checks Lyuba and Leonil

First, the Russians knew that it was coming and, as such, have been strengthening their positions.

Second, Kherson, their only city, is in many ways both a gateway into Crimea and a land bridge with Russia. Russia cannot afford to lose it so they are fighting to defend their lines.

Thirdly, and this is what the Ukrainians have to worry about, the terrain is flat, making it difficult for infantry movements to be effective. There is no cover so artillery and rockets dominate the battlefield.

Explosions are a constant sound.

These flatlands are scary and eerie to drive through. The supply line is the road to the front. They are a constant target. Both sides routinely attack supply lines.

Image Said Ismalihov

To support infantry, tank battalions move towards the frontline. They are supported by tank battalions that move towards the frontline to support infantry.

Their task is to stop any Russian resistance. We observe as they load their tanks full of personalised shells.

It says, “Mykola and Moskals” – a gift of Ukrainians to Russians. This offensive results in the loss of many lives.

Two medical personnel were preparing to rescue injured soldiers at the front. They told us that sometimes the number of casualties can be quite high. They explain that the Russians knew they would be there.

“What we know is that the Russians have tried to block all advancements towards Crimea after a successful counter-offensive was launched in Kharkiv,” Said Ismalihov said to me before speeding to the front.

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What will the Russian forces do next?

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Major Serhii Tehotskii, originally from Crimea, is an area commander on these battle lines. Although he is a tradesman, he re-joined army in February after the Russian invasion.

The family of the 55-year old is currently in Britain. After being evacuated at the beginning of the war, his wife, daughter and grandson now live in London. His brother and his son are fighting alongside him.

Major likes to watch out for civilians who have remained behind in all the fighting.

Lyuba, a sixty-year-old woman, comes out to meet him. They hug each other and Leonil, Lyuba’s husband, calls to say hello. Lyuba is very positive and says that they have been able to get out of their basement in the last few days.

She takes a deep breath and sniffs the air. “What smells it like?” It’s possible. What? Tell me what it smells like. She asks. “Like victory!” She screams.

“And you want to me leave. Why should I? Why should I? No, no. It’s not going to work that way. She says, “I will be waiting here,” defiantly. “They will be defeated soon, soon,” she insists.

Lyuba, like all Ukrainians, is optimistic. However the Kremlin’s noises are alarming.

This conflict could easily escalate. This means that nobody is safe.

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