The Liberation of Kherson Is More Important Than We’re Being Told

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The Ukraine War may be bigger than all the hype, and liberating Kherson could mean a greater victory for the country on Friday.

Russia’s attack on Kyiv’s capital was halted after the Russian logistics could not support enough troops or vehicles. Although the retreat was completed in good order, some of Russia’s most skilled and well-armed forces were killed.

A similar attempt to take Kharkiv failed to materialize, even though Kharkiv lies closer to Russia than Kyiv.

Many settlements were captured in the Donbas offensive, but it was costly. Russia’s offensive power culminated on July 31st and has been in an unsustainable stall ever since.

Russia’s only unambiguous success was in Ukraine’s south, in Zaporizhia and Kherson oblasts.

Kherson was the only of the four oblasts that were illegally (and ineffectively) “annexed” by Vladimir Putin in September.

It’s over.

Russian commander General Sergei SUROVIN, a Russian commander, ordered his troops to leave Kherson Oblast west of the Dnipro River and the capital city.

According to a news article, Russian forces “retreat a further 15-20km away from the east bank Dnipro because of the risk of being within range of Ukraine artillery.”

They couldn’t control the right bank of Dnipro. They cede the left bank a few days later.

Putin’s annexed Russia is a joke.

Now what?

It all depends on whether we are talking diplomatically, militarily, or politically.

Let’s look at each one individually.

Militarily, this video is the best way to learn everything you need about Russia’s Black Sea crown jewel.

This is right: Russian forces are building fortifications in Crimea. It’s clear that Moscow doesn’t plan to retain the conquered lands it still holds in Kherson and Zaporizhia.

Putin’s almost bloodless 2014 takeover of Crimea is a matter of national pride and personal pride. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, declared last month that “We will definitely free Crimea.” Putin also promised that Crimea would be part of Russia “from now and forever.”

Somebody has to give and, lately, it is the Russian ground forces.

But it’s not all in the air.

Robert Farley from 1945 asks the question: “Can Russia terror bomb its way to victory over Ukraine?”

My gut and my brain both agree:

Putin can wreck a lot of infrastructures and kill a lot of civilians. But it takes troops on the ground to conquer an entire nation. This lesson was learned in Iraq where the military’s “small footprint strategy” failed to pacify the nation. And unlike Russia and Ukraine, the U.S. had completely destroyed the Iraqi military.

Diplomatically, reports suggest that Putin was “offered surrender terms” by the West. However, “surrender” is too strong a word.

* This plan would see Russia giving up all territories in Ukraine, except Crimea. The latter would be demilitarized.

* Putin and his cronies would be exonerated from prosecution for war crimes and allowed to remain in power, Valery Solovey stated.

* This would be a peaceful agreement — not a surrender by Russian forces, occupation of Moscow, or any other similar.

It is true? It is my hope. I have been advocating for a dual-track policy that would allow Ukraine to be armed while also seeking peace. Although there are many details to be worked out, such as the fate of the tens of thousands of Ukrainian children who were kidnapped by Russia, the peace agreement outlined above seems to be as fair as possible.

But.

It is here that things really get interesting politically.

Putin’s cronies may be excited about a peace agreement that allows them to return to Mother Russia’s vital business of plundering, but nationalist interests are more concerned.

Aleksandr Dugin, a popular fascist “philosopher”, called for Putin’s execution last week after Kherson’s retreat. He continued, saying that Russia’s authorities cannot give up any other thing. “The limit has been reached.”

What are nationalists like Dugin supposed to do when Kherson is gone and Crimea is threatened?

Russian politics are too opaque and have always been that way to make any predictions about what might happen to Putin or his circle. It seems that preparations are being made for some sudden change.

ISW reported last week that Yevgeny Prgozhin, a financier of the Wagner Group, continued to build parallel military structures in Belgorod oblasts and Kursk oblasts despite no threat from a Ukrainian ground invasion on Russian territory.”

ISW writes that “Prigozhin will likely continue to pursue the formation of parallel military units more broadly to increase his influence and standing within Russian political circles.” [Emphasis mine]

There seems to be a growing number of private-held forces led by a man who has his own agenda.

Sleep tight, Comrade Putin.