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Russian retreat in Kherson could be turning point in Ukraine war

Oct 05, 2022

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Russian forces are being chased out of the strategic port city of Kherson by Ukrainian troops. Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address that dozens of villages “have been liberated” by the offensive. The setback could force Russia to abandon some of its best weaponry as soldiers are forced to flee. Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan says the Russian retreat in Kherson could mark a turning point in the Ukraine War.

Excerpted from Peter’s Oct. 5 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

Ukrainian forces are poised to rout Russian defensive formations around the critical southern city of Kherson. This comes weeks after a planned counter offensive went into effect, but on the heels of significant gains made against Russian troops in Ukraine’s Northeast, which saw Kyiv recapture Izium and the strategic rail hub of Lyman.The battle for Kherson will represent a significant bellwether in the current phase of the Ukraine conflict. Russia’s best troops and equipment are stationed there. If they dissolve, as have other fronts in recent weeks, not only does this have significant implications for Russia itself but the capture of advanced Russian equipment by Kyiv’s forces will represent a larger and more significant transfer than nearly anything NATO has provided up to this point.

The problem is that the Russians really have nowhere to retreat to, or at least not with their gear. There are two bridges, one in Kherson and one in Nova Kakhovka, that have been damaged. So you can walk across them, but you can’t take your equipment with you. You can’t drive across them.

And that means that the Russians are literally running for their lives and very soon they’re going to be pinned against the river. And they’ll have the choice between fighting to the death, surrendering or making a run on foot for one of those bridges to get away. 

Now, this would obviously…be bad for the Russians in any circumstance because this is the furthest that the Russians have gotten. Kherson is the only major city that the Russian advance has caught…captured in seven months. But there’s an additional problem here.

This is the greatest concentration of Russian forces and it is the best troops that Russia has. So we’re talking at something like 25,000 troops with the best equipment that the Russians have. And if they have to abandon that, it’s a double whammy because you’re talking about the evisceration and destruction of their most capable armored infantry and artillery formations and the abandonment of the best equipment that they have to the Ukrainian forces.

In terms of weapons transfers, this would be bigger than even what the Ukrainians got with their Kharkiv offensive and the capture of Izium last month. And it also would be greater than everything that NATO has transferred to Ukraine so far. 

Hey everybody. Peter Zeihan here. Coming to you briefly from New York City. I’m in town for like 16 hours. Well, anyway, I wanted to do a quick update because things are changing so quickly in Ukraine. There has been a series of breakthroughs through Russian lines north of Kherson, and as a result, it appears that the entire Russian line has crumpled. The problem is that the Russians really have nowhere to retreat to, or at least not with their gear. There are two bridges, one in Kherson and one in Nova Kakhovka, that have been damaged. So you can walk across them, but you can’t take your equipment with you. You can’t drive across them.

And that means that the Russians are literally running for their lives and very soon they’re going to be pinned against the river. And they’ll have the choice between fighting to the death, surrendering, or making a run on foot for one of those bridges to get away. 

Now, this would obviously…be bad for the Russians in any circumstance because this is the furthest that the Russians have gotten. Kherson is the only major city that the Russian advance has caught…captured in seven months. But there’s an additional problem here. This is the greatest concentration of Russian forces and it is the best troops that Russia has. So we’re talking at something like 25,000 troops with the best equipment that the Russians have. And if they have to abandon that, it’s a double whammy because you’re talking about the evisceration and destruction of their most capable armored infantry and artillery formations and the abandonment of the best equipment that they have to the Ukrainian forces. In terms of weapons transfers, this would be bigger than even what the Ukrainians got with their Kharkiv offensive and the capture of Izium last month. 

And it also would be greater than everything that NATO has transferred to Ukraine so far. Now I still believe that this is Russia’s war to lose. The first year of all Russia’s wars look a lot like this. Bad training, bad coordination, poorly maintained equipment, and eventually they turn the corner. But if their most powerful formations dissolve in the next couple of days, it’s time to start thinking about what that means for Russia as a whole. That is going to have to be the topic of another video anyway. Watch Kherson closely. This could very well be where this war is decided. Take care.

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