Russia begins to lose war in the south – where its aggression against Ukraine began nine years ago

In February 2014, Russia began its series of attacks on Ukraine’s territorial integrity by occupying the Crimean peninsula, in the south of the country.

This annexation, as well as the civil war started by pro-Russian separatists in the east in the same year, was a response to the ousting of a Kremlin-friendly Ukrainian government. In February of this year, the aggression became direct, with the invasion promoted by President Vladimir Putin to the former Soviet republic.

In recent months, the counter-offensive in the south has given hope for a turn in the war. In October, Russia suffered two major blows, the explosion on the Crimean bridge and a drone attack on its Black Sea fleet, which led to a temporary suspension of the agreement it had signed with Ukraine, the UN and Turkey to facilitate the export of

However, the biggest setback was the withdrawal of Russian troops from the city of Kherson last week, so far the culmination of a movement of resumption of control of the province by Ukraine: it was the only regional capital that Moscow had captured since the beginning of this year’s conflict.

“The capacity of the Russia from sustaining its forces on the west bank of the Dnieper River was put under pressure by Ukrainian attacks on its resupply routes,” said a British Intelligence report.

)“In retreating, Russian forces destroyed several bridges and likely laid mines to slow and delay the advance of Ukrainian forces. The loss of the west bank of Kherson is likely to prevent Russia from achieving its strategic aspiration of an overland link reaching Odesa,” the statement added.

May There may be some poetic justice in Russia beginning to lose the war in the south, where it began to undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity nearly nine years ago, and President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed in August that Crimea has not been forgotten.

“We will not forget that the Russian war against Ukraine began with the occupation of Crimea. This Russian war began with Crimea and must end with Crimea – with its liberation”, he assured.


However, the victories in Kherson do not mean that Kyiv must regain all the areas it lost to the Kremlin anytime soon. Military analyst and reserve colonel Paulo Roberto da Silva Gomes Filho highlighted that the occupation of Crimea in 2014 had a different nature from other Russian military actions in southern Ukraine this year .

The peninsula was coveted due to its position on the Black Sea, of great importance to Russia due to the naval air base in Sevastopol and the access, through the straits of Bosphorus and Dardanelles, to the Mediterranean – Russia had difficulties in reaching the so-called warm seas.

“There is not much relationship, so they that they started in the south and the war ended there. [A invasão] started with Crimea due to its geostrategic importance, there in 2014. It’s one thing to [a Ucrânia] conquer [a cidade de] Kherson and maybe even reconquer the entire province, reach the coast, an attempt to reconquer Crimea would be quite another thing”, emphasized Paulo Filho.

The analyst pointed out that Russian troops had crossed the Dnieper River, an achievement that is called the bridgehead. However, it is a very difficult position to defend, since these troops needed to receive all the logistics, personnel and supplies, through the bridges over the river, which were being systematically bombed by the Ukrainians, especially from the moment they received from the United States the Himars multiple rocket launchers.

“It became very difficult for the Russians to maintain this logistics, so they decided to retreat to defend themselves on the other side of the river , where the defense makes it more difficult for the Ukrainians to attack. Now, the advantage of putting the river between the defender and the attacker is with the Russians”, said Paulo Filho.

“There were a series of setbacks for the Russians, who show a series of weaknesses, unexpected to a certain extent, and a series of Ukrainian successes, which greatly increases the morale of the troops, the disposition for combat, and makes the ideas of celebrating peace at that moment more difficult because the Ukrainians they will not give up trying to take back as much territory as possible.”

Although Putin is cornered, Paulo Filho does not believe that Russia can use tactical nuclear weapons in southern Ukraine at the moment, for fear of complete isolation from the international community. On the Ukrainian side, the expert pointed out that, in addition to consolidating its counter-offensive in the south, Kyiv will have a greater challenge: to succeed in the east as well.

“No Donbas, the conflict is fiercer. He comes from 2014, with defensive positions on both sides established, the troops of the two rebel states [Luhansk e Donetsk] are more experienced, they know the terrain well. I think it will be a more difficult offensive for the Ukrainians in the east than in the south, although nowhere will it be easy”, warned Paulo Filho.

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