Ukraine Plans 'Systemic Grinding' of Putin's Army to Take Kherson: Official - Newsweek

As Ukraine seeks to regain Kherson—a city that Russia has occupied since the beginning of its invasion—the Ukrainian strategy involves "the systemic grinding of Putin's army" an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Saturday, Oleksiy Arestovych said there is "no rush" to take back the city and that when it comes to targeting the Russians, the Ukrainian forces are seeking "to uncover their operational logistical supply system and destroy it with artillery and [HIMARS]."

HIMARs, or High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, have been provided to Ukraine by the United States in recent months as a tool for combating Russia on the battlefield. A senior U.S. military official said this week that HIMARs have led to falling morale among Russian troops.

Justin Conelli, a senior U.S. Air Force fellow at the Atlantic Council's Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, said in an interview published Thursday by the council that he expected Ukraine's strategy in Kherson to involve "operations aimed at further weakening Russian defenses and supply lines rather than a full-scale conventional raid to retake terrain."

Above, a view of the destroyed Fabrika shopping mall in Kherson on July 20, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine. As Ukraine seeks to regain Kherson, the Ukrainian strategy involves "the systemic grinding of Putin's army" an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said. STRINGER

Conelli added that a successful operation in Ukraine "would mean Ukrainian forces achieving sustained effects in crippling Russia's ability to supply its forces in Kherson."

"The U.S.-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) have been highly effective in destroying bridges, effectively cutting off Russian forces closer to the line of contact and allowing the Ukrainians to conduct the actual counteroffensive," he said.

Kherson was the first major city to fall under Russian occupation after the invasion of Ukraine began in late February.

"Retaking the occupied territory of the Kherson province on the west bank of the Dnieper would be a major psychological and political win for Kyiv," said Peter Rutland, professor of Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, at Wesleyan University told Newsweek late last month. He added that regaining the territory "would be a major psychological and political win for Kyiv."

Ukrainian political scientist Ihor Reiterovych told NV Radio last month that the return of Kherson to Ukraine would be a significant loss for the Kremlin.

"It would indeed be a colossal blow to them, in terms of their general prospects in this war they're waging against Ukraine, and Russia's ability to win it," he said, according to The New Voice of Ukraine.

Newsweek has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment.

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