According to Sergei Obukhov, Duma deputy, if Vladimir Putin’s G20 trip to Indonesia does not take place, the battle for Kherson will be crucial for the operations in Ukraine.
Kherson, in the Ukrainian-Russian social sphere, will be the site of the new battle to accommodate foreigners on Ukrainian or Russian soil, depending on one’s point of view. The fear for everyone at the front is that by losing Biden in the mid-term elections, it will take something major, like the liberation of Kherson, to repair his image and that of the US Democrats.
Western lobbyists, one reads on the social sphere on the Ukrainian side, have put pressure on the Ukrainian President’s Office over the ‘Kherson case’. Now everyone in the West expects a ‘huge and lightning fast’ offensive in the direction of Kherson within a week. Volodymyr Zelensky has set the task of ‘taking Kherson’ before the G20 summit. The West convinced Zelensky that ‘the Russians will surrender to this section of the front’.
But in Kherson the British would also have special interests. The Sun for example wrote about the battle for Kherson that its recapture is a key psychological and moral stimulus for the Ukrainians. And it is the road to Crimea. Once Kherson is occupied, the HIMARS can strike the main Russian air bases and supply depots for 80 km. Control over Kherson and the Dnepr river (possibly Beryslav) will allow the Ukrainians to take control of the Northern Crimean Canal, which supplies water to Crimea. According to US General Hodges, Kherson is the key to Crimea. According to the British newspaper, the seizure of Crimea is planned for next year.
The last ship left the right bank of Kherson on 7 November, the residents can now evacuate themselves from the city and as soon as possible, the authorities urged. On the morning of 8 November, Krill Stremousov, chief administrator of Kherson, said: ‘The epilogue of events is expected in Kherson in the coming days. We are ready for any decision, even the most difficult one. Russia’s main priority is to preserve and save the lives of the inhabitants of the Kherson region’. The day before yesterday, he himself had declared: ‘It seems that next week will be a time for difficult decisions’.
His statements were not at all liked by the military at the front, who made it known via Telegram: ‘We do not see any reason to draw any conclusions about the surrender of Kherson from his (Stremousov’s ed.) statement for the following reasons: Stremousov is not a representative of the Ministry of Defence. To put it bluntly, the decision to abandon or defend Kherson is not under his control. Words about the priority of preserving and saving the lives of the population by leaving Kherson and dozens of settlements – will become lies and hypocrisy. This will mean the total extermination of the pro-Russian population in the abandoned territories, as happened in the Kharkov region. Because not everyone has left. Kherson is a Russian city! This is Russia! This is the key to Crimea, to the northern Crimean channel’.
Among the complaints of those at the front was that many actions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces could have been prevented by doing what was done in October and June.
As of 4 November, Kirill Stremousov said that a 24-hour curfew in Kherson was: ” necessary to ‘cleanse the city of the Nazis’ and go on the offensive ‘on the instructions of Nikolaev and Odessa’.
As of 5 November, one reads in the social sphere, there are trenches and concrete shelters in Russian-controlled Kakhovka on the left bank of the Dnepr. All in preparation for the battles for the Kherson region.
On six November, electricity was cut off in Kherson by sabotage, an explosion on the Berislav-Kakhovka power line. According to reports from the emergency services, more than 10 settlements in the Kherson region were without electricity. Looters stormed the power buildings, taking away what could be stolen.
As of 7 November, electricity was restored to Kherson, and final preparations to leave the city were completed, the Zoo was also moved to Crimea. “The Kiev regime regularly bombs the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant. If the dam is destroyed, a wave will wash away a small zoo on an island in the middle of the Dnepr. For transport, the wolves were put down and the zoologists captured the rest of the animals for several hours. The most difficult part was with birds and raccoons’. The Kherson authorities report. “As soon as the situation in Kherson will normalise, stabilise, the zoo will be ready to receive animals, we will be able to bring them at the request of the Kherson region leadership.” This was said by Oleg Zubkov, owner of the Taigan Lion Park.
According to Benjamin Pitte, an OSINT analyst who disseminates the material on the social sphere Twitter, the preparation of the defence lines of the Russian Armed Forces illustrated by the satellite images would show that the Russians: ‘are now preparing to defend the right bank of the river’. According to Pitte’s information, the Ukrainian command believes that the Russian Federation will not withdraw from Kherson.
Benjamin Pitter writes that the RF armed forces are building three defence lines on the left bank of the Dnepr and digging in on the Black Sea coast. Specifically on the left bank of the Dnepr, the Russian armed forces are digging three lines of trenches with bunkers. They are designed to be used as barriers along with the river.
According to Defense Express, the first line runs along the Dnepr, the other – at a depth of 5-10 km from it, the third – at a depth of 20-25 km. Some of the fortifications are located in more remote areas, e.g. on the Black Sea coast, in Gorlitsky Bay. The total length of the lines is 180-200 km, but they are still under construction. Moreover, the Russian military is erecting them without any self-promotion, as in the case of the Wagner Line.
On 8 November, the FSB interrupted the activities of the Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group, whose tasks included the commission of terrorist attacks against high-ranking members of the administration of the Kherson region, RIA Novosti reported. Nine Ukrainian citizens were detained and subsequently arrested. A car bomb was defused. More than 5 kg of plastic explosives, three ready-made improvised explosive devices and grenades were seized from the defendants.
According to one of Volodymyr Zelensky’s advisers, Oleksij Arestovich, ‘Hopes for a quick Russian release from Kherson are not justified’. According to him, the Russians in Kherson are preparing a tough defence, the likes of which they have never had before.
Starting on the morning of 8 November, Ukrainian artillery attacked in the direction of Nikolaev: massive artillery bombardment of the Pravdyne settlement, the Russian air force with SU-24Ms shelled Russian artillery points. Meanwhile the Ukrainian Armed Forces, launched an attack on Pravdyne north-west of Kherson
In the meantime, the Russian ambassador to the Vatican, Alexander Avdeev, thanked the Pontiff: “The Russian release of Ukrainian prisoners of war or their exchange takes place, also taking into account the lists regularly transmitted to us by Pope Francis. In this matter, we greatly appreciate the personal actions of the pontiff, who is carrying out a very important humanitarian mission, enabling hundreds of people to be returned to their families’.