In their latest intelligence update on the war in Ukraine, published on Twitter on Tuesday, the UK analysts wrote: “From early on 29 August 2022, several brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces increased the weight of artillery fires in front line sectors across southern Ukraine.”
The UK Ministry of Defence added that “Ukrainian long-range precision strikes continue to disrupt Russian resupply,” noting that “It is not yet possible to confirm the extent of Ukrainian advances.”
Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south
Meanwhile, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US think tank, wrote on Monday night that “Ukrainian military officials announced the start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kherson Oblast on August 29."
The ISW added that "Ukrainian officials reported that Ukrainian forces have broken through the first line of defenses in unspecified areas of Kherson Oblast and are seeking to take advantage of the disruption of Russian ground lines of communication caused by Ukrainian HIMARS strikes over many weeks."
The US experts also noted that “Russian and Western sources claimed that Ukrainian forces liberated five settlements during the first day of the counteroffensive.”
Specifically, some Russian military bloggers and unnamed sources speaking with Western media “stated that Ukrainian forces liberated several settlements west and northwest of Kherson City, near the Ukrainian bridgehead over the Inhulets River, and south of the Kherson-Dnipropetrovsk Oblast border,” the think tank reported.
As the US analysts added, “Ukrainian sources have not announced the liberation of any settlements at the time of this publication.”
Russia’s reinforced defences around Kherson City
Meanwhile, the UK Ministry of Defence wrote that “since the start of August, Russia has made significant efforts to reinforce its force on the western bank of the Dnipro River around Kherson.”
Namely, “The Southern Military District’s (SMD) 49th Combined Arms Army has highly likely been augmented with components of the Eastern Military District’s (EMD) 35th Combined Arms Army,” the UK analysts added.
They assessed that “Most of the units around Kherson are likely under-manned and are reliant upon fragile supply lines by ferry and pontoon bridges across the Dnipro.”
Will Ukraine break through Russian defences?
According to the British Ministry of Defence, “This integration of SMD and EMD units suggests a significant reorganisation of Russia’s force in Ukraine.”
In the UK analysts’ view, “There is a realistic possibility that Russia has moved to rationalise the several, semi-independent, operational commands which contributed to its poor performance early in the invasion.”
“If Ukraine succeeds in undertaking sustained offensive operations, the cohesion of this untested structure will likely be a key factor in the sustainability of Russian defences in the south,” the British Ministry of Defence concluded.
Tuesday is day 188 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: UK Ministry of Defence, PAP, understandingwar.org