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Ukraine Strikes Occupied Kherson Air Base

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Ravi Rikhye Ukraine War Analysis
Ravi Rikhye Ukraine War Analysis

1. Ukraine forces attacked Kherson Air Base in the south probably with artillery or rockets from the pictures. The base is being used by Russian helicopters. In web comments, there are cautions that the damage may not be as extensive as initially believed. One comment says some of the helios may be Ukrainian, left behind when Kherson fell to the Russians. Myself I don’t think this is plausible: Kherson was under attack for several days, Ukraine would have evacuated its helicopters.

Ravi Rikhye Ukraine War Analysis
Satellite image of Kherson Air Base

2. Overall, the ground war seems to be in a stand-still phase. The happy explanation: Russian forces are worn down. The unhappy explanation: Russian forces are reorganizing, though what they have left by way of combat troops is unclear. 

Ravi Rikhye Ukraine War Analysis
Closer view of the strike.

3. Remember, Ukraine is still to commit 10-12 “main force” brigades it is holding back while inflicting attrition on the attackers. This is not a cost-free strategy as the defenders are taking casualties. But do also remember Ukraine has deployed several territorial brigades in the front line.

Ravi Rikhye Ukraine War Analysis
Post strike bomb damage assessment.

4. Fourth Russian general killed, commander of 150 MR Division. This is from Russian sources. This doesn’t count the Chechen Major-General killed. Now, in principle its good to have your division commanders at the front to unjam own blockages and raise morale. But the idea is they command their divisions, not get killed left and right. Naturally one wonders if Ukraine guerrillas are using SIGINT to target Russian generals regardless of where they are. This a possibility, but pure speculation on my part.

Ravi Rikhye Ukraine War Analysis
Location in Ukraine of strike.

5. Rumors says Russian offensive, particularly in the north, have stalled because conscripts are refused to fight. While this may be true, there are plenty of other explanations which we’ve touched on: Ukraine deliberate flooding in the north, the spring thaw – read about Barbarossa 1941 to understand what the thaw does to movement of even tracked vehicles – supply and maintenance issues, insufficient engineers etc etc. So without firm proof we don’t need to add the rumor the conscripts are refusing to fight. Though there’s plenty of reason for them and many younger Russian volunteers not to.

Ravi Rikhye Ukraine War Analysis
Drone shot of air base from distance.

6. Please note that when Ukraine counterattacks in the north, if it moves along the Ukraine-Belarus border, four Russian armies will be in danger of getting cutoff. I have no information this is what Ukraine plans, but its logical given the number of intact, uncommitted formations.

 

Ravi

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Ravi Rikhye
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