Ukraine ‘exploiting poor Russian leadership’ in new offensive, says UK

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Russian troops guard an entrance of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station, a run-of-river power plant on the Dnieper River in Kherson region (AP)
Russian troops guard an entrance of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station, a run-of-river power plant on the Dnieper River in Kherson region (AP)

Ukrainian forces have “likely achieved a degree of tactical” surprise by exploiting “poor” leadership among Russian forces, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

In its daily intelligence briefing, the MoD said Ukrainian forces have also taken advantage of “poor logistics” employed by the Russians during couteroffensive in the Kherson Oblast.

The ministry said: “Since 29 August 2022, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been conducting renewed offensive operations in the south of Ukraine.

“One element of this offensive is an ongoing advance on a broad front west of the Dnipro River, focusing on three axes within Russian-occupied Kherson Oblast.

“The operation has limited immediate objectives, but Ukraine’s forces have likely achieved a degree of tactical surprise; exploiting poor logistics, administration and leadership in the Russian armed forces.

“With fighting also continuing in the Donbas and Kharkiv sectors, a key decision for Russian commanders in coming days will be where to commit any operational reserve force they can generate.”

Ukraine declared this week that it had begun a counter-offensive to retake Kherson - the one city Russia holds west of the Dnipro river.

Britain and a number of its European allies have promised to train tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops, whole it was confirmed that Ukraine had war-gamed its counter-offensive with US military figures.

Ukrainian forces are concentrating on reclaiming the southern city of Kherson, which fell into Russian hands in the early days of the war.

"The signs are good at the moment but we will have to wait and see exactly how far they get, and what they manage to achieve," an official said.

A second official added: "It won’t end the war, but it would be really significant partly because of the geo-strategic importance of Kherson itself but also as a demonstration that Russia is a very long way away from having this war go its own way."

As the war drags on, Western officials are becoming increasingly concerned about the treatment of Ukrainians in Russian-held territories.

Moscow was said to have opened 21 filtration camps to detain and interrogate civilians.