The decisive battle is drawing near.
Ukraine faces a decisive battle for the return of territories in the south of the country, including Kherson. According to the Financial Times, citing its sources among US officials and lawmakers, a key battle should take place before winter, which will complicate conditions for the advancing Ukrainian army.
The success in the counter-offensive on two fronts at once, achieved in recent days, can be used as an additional impetus to push back Russian forces from the strategic areas of the South.
“If you take control of Kherson, you can prevent the Russian army from reaching Odesa, which I think the Russians are really aiming at,” said a senior US military official.
The military and analysts interviewed by Financial Time expect the Ukrainian Armed Forces to liberate Kherson after mid-November. Now the Armed Forces are advancing towards the city from the northeast and north, one US Department of Defense source said.
“They need to do something with Kherson in the near future,” said an unnamed Western diplomat. He added how military successes boost Ukrainian morale and show that Western-provided weapons are being put to the best use.
Other interlocutors of the publication note that Ukrainian forces need to recapture the South before winter — before the terrain becomes difficult to pass. In winter conditions, maneuvering will be difficult for both sides, but will give an advantage to those on the defensive, since they do not need to make extra maneuvers.
The publication notes that the offensive is complicated by Moscow's strengthening of its positions in the South, the NATO representative noted. According to him, the Ukrainians will need superior forces to break through this defense. However, as the representative of the US Department of Defense recalled, the Russians had difficulties securing the front line and delivering the necessary supplies, which Kyiv can use.
Reclaiming territories in the South, according to FT interlocutors, is necessary to strengthen Ukraine's position in the negotiations, if they begin. According to the member of the House of Representatives Brad Sherman, the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine is possible in six to eight months, and before that Ukraine needs to regain more territories.
Journalists remind that as a result of a successful counter-offensive in the East, Ukraine recaptured most of the territories of the Kharkiv region occupied by Russia since the beginning of the war. The Armed Forces of Ukraine have also surrounded and taken the strategically important Lyman.
In the Kherson region, the Armed Forces of Ukraine also made a powerful breakthrough, significantly shifting the front line to the South.