Russia abandoned Kherson and now depends only on Iranian drones

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Kremlin troops withdrew from the only provincial capital they controlled and crossed the great river that divides Ukraine. They will try to defend their positions with the selective bombing of the drones provided by the Tehran regime.

 Russia left Kherson and now only depends on Iranian drones


Gustavo Sierra

 Russia abandoned Kherson and now only depends on Iranian drones

Soldiers from the Ukrainian advance guard wait in a village in the Kherson oblast for the order to enter the capital city of the region that was abandoned by the Russians. REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi

When Russian forces crossed the Antonivsky Bridge over the Dnipro River and entered the city of Kherson b>, just a few days after the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, it was experienced in Moscow as an enormous success that would give it a sure and quick victory in the war. Eight months later, Kherson was the only provincial capital that they had been able to take, and which they now had to abandon in the face of the Ukrainian reconquest advance. Russia was left without its beachheadon the west side of the Dnipro River, with no chance of a steady advance until after the winter in March or April and with the Crimean peninsula – which it invaded and annexed in 2014 – compromised. Its only effective firepower, beyond nuclear weapons, are the drones provided by the Iranian regime.

Vladimir Putin did not face to add any words to this resounding military and political failure and left his generals to choreograph an excuse live on television. General Sergey Surovikin, head of the Russian forces in Ukraine, told Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that “after assessing the situation, I propose to prepare the defenses along the left bank of the Dnipro River”. Shoigu immediately accepted the proposal with a shocked face. Bad actors for a plot that had been “spoiling” for days. Last week, the occupation authorities had ordered the evacuation of civilians to the Russian side and overnight, all the troops at the checkpoints disappeared. Although a few remained to take everything they could, including the bones of Prince Grigory Potemkin, general and lover of Catherine the Great, which remained in a crypt of the white cathedral of Kherson, a city that had founded.

All this, while the Ukrainian troops took position and prepared for a tough street-by-street fight. The Russians knew that they were in a difficult situation before this possible battle. They could be trapped in the city shipyards with their backs to the river, with no possibility of escape. They decided to consolidate on the other side, to the east of one of the great European rivers that crosses the whole of Ukraine and that in this area forms an estuary that empties into the Black Sea. In the middle, apparently, there was some settling of scores. Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of Russia's illegal occupation government in Kherson Oblast, was found dead. Stremousov, a well-known Ukrainian politician and blogger in the city, had welcomed the Russian occupationand became a key pro-Russian voice in the region. In Kherson several partisan groups acted during these eight months and massive demonstrations against the Russians were registered in the first days until they responded with murders and torture. Before the invasion, the population of Kherson was 250,000 people. Now, it is estimated that there could be about 30,000.

 Russia left Kherson and now only relies on Iranian drones

A resident of the village of Arkhanhelske, on the outskirts of the city of Kherson, from where the Russian occupation troops have withdrawn. REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi

“Our first patrols tell us that the city is empty and that only a few residents dare to come out to cheer on our troops. It's very dangerous. They left everything mined. And looted. Everything of value has already been moved out of Kherson,” said Maj. Serhiy Tsehotskiy, press officer of the 59th Motorized Brigade. “The Russians are leaving scorched earth”.

Kherson had become vulnerable because it was the only territory that Russia controlled west of the Dnipro. With batteries of long-range missiles provided by the West, Ukrainian forces managed in recent months to isolate Russian forcesin that area. To achieve this, they bombed the exit bridges to the Russian east. Ukrainian armor and infantry divisions began a grueling advance on the city from the north, west, and south. The irrigation canals in the areas surrounding the historic center had delayed the offensive and autumn rains turned the rest into mud, making it difficult for tanks to manoeuvre.

However, senior Ukrainian officials warned that taking control of the entire Kherson region, one of the four provinces the Kremlin had decreed annexed to Russia, would still take time. They distrust the announcement made from Moscow, implying that they could have prepared a trapto the forces approaching the city. “We have indications that they are withdrawing,” Colonel Roman Kostenko told the BBC in a telephone interview. “They have blown up bridges that would have allowed our forces to advance. We see that they leave the population centers, but in some they left soldiers to cover their movements. We do not know if they were abandoned or if it is a maneuver. We are watching,” Kostenko explained.

Russia left Kherson and now only depends on Iranian drones

On the Russian side, the news fell like a neutron bomb that Putin is threatening to drop on Kyiv. “The decision is shocking to thousands and millions of people who fight for Russia, die for Russia, believe in Russia and share the beliefs of the Russian world,” Yuri Kotyonok, an influential blogger who follows the troops, wrote on his Telegram channel. . The truth is that it is a huge setbackfor the aspirations of the Kremlin leader who already had to endure the defeat of his troops when they tried to take Kyiv and the permanent Ukrainian advance of reconquest in the east and south. It even depends on Iran to provide itself with weapons and on China and India to continue extracting its oil and grains. Its greatest victory in recent months was bombing power plants and high voltage lines to leave Kyiv without electricity.

In the last few hours, the Iranian state agency Nour Newsreported that the Secretary of the Russian National Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, is in Tehran to buy Iranian ballistic missiles. The talks are with his Iranian peer, Ali Shamkhani. Iran already supplies the Shahed-136 artillery drones that Russian troops use in Ukraine and carry out sneak attacks on civilian positions, as well as power grid installations. It also delivered unmanned aircraft of the Mohajer and Arash type. According to the British news channel Sky News, the Kremlin paid Tehran, on August 20, €140 million in cash and handed over a selection of British-made NLAW anti-tank missiles, US-made Javelin anti-tank missiles and a Stinger anti-aircraft missile, all seized from Ukrainian forces, in exchange for an additional 160 Shahed-136 drones for use in Ukraine.

Ukrainian officers who are approaching the center of Kherson are afraid of these weapons. They predict that once the government is reinstated in that provincial capital, the missiles launched by Iranian drones will begin to fall on them. In the third decade of the 21st century, rivers like the Dnipro are still important for any type of artillery maneuver and constitute insurmountable natural barriers, but the war advantage now lies in the firepower emanating from unmanned aerial vehicles. manned.

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