Russia builds echelons of defense on Kherson region's left bank – ISW
Russian forces are applying lessons learned from attempts to man Russian multilayered defenses in western Zaporizhzhia region during the Ukrainian counteroffensive to current Russian defensive operations in Kherson region
The Institute for the Study of War reports this in its latest assessment of the frontline situation in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian General Staff acknowledged that Russian forces have a “fairly serious” line of fortifications in Kherson region. Ukrainian forces operating on the left bank of Kherson Oblast characterized Russian defensive positions as “elaborate dugouts that Russian forces constructed over months”.
Russian forces also heavily mined the area around Krynky, 30 km northeast of Kherson city and 2 km from the Dnipro River, where Ukrainian forces currently maintain positions. Russian forces are not deploying their forces in a “pillar formation” at the immediate frontline on the east bank, likely in an effort to protect concentrations of Russian forces from Ukrainian artillery fire and drone strikes.
The Russian command in the Kherson direction has refused to commit additional forces of the 70th Motorized Rifle Division and 7th Air Assault (VDV) Division beyond elements of single regiments and battalions to the frontline, opting instead to maintain the remainder of these formations in near rear areas and secondary echelons of defense.
Experts note that Russian forces have not constructed extensive visible defensive fortifications similar to those that Russian forces established in western Zaporizhzhia region prior to the start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive and appear to have opted for more discrete fortifications set further from the frontline.
However, according to the analysts, the discrete fortifications located away from the frontline in Kherson region will only be fully effective if they remain concealed. Fall and winter weather conditions may reveal some concealed positions as foliage and natural ground cover die.
The day before, the Ukrainian Marine Corps command said that they had managed to consolidate several footholds on the left bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson sector. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are pushing the Russian forces as far away from the right bank as possible to protect Ukrainian civilians from constant Russian shelling.