US media: Russian president rejects requests from commanders to retreat from Ukraine's Kherson

    WORLD  24 September 2022 - 12:50

    The Russian president has rejected requests from commanders in the field that they be allowed to retreat from Kherson, a vital city in Ukraine’s south.

    President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has thrust himself more directly into strategic planning for the war in Ukraine in recent weeks, American officials said, including rejecting requests from his commanders on the ground that they be allowed to retreat from the vital southern city of Kherson, The New York Times reports.

    A withdrawal from Kherson would allow the Russian military to pull back across the Dnipro River in an orderly way, preserving its equipment and saving the lives of soldiers.

    But such a retreat would be another humiliating public acknowledgment of Mr. Putin’s failure in the war, and would hand a second major victory to Ukraine in one month. Kherson was the first major city to fall to the Russians in the initial invasion, and remains the only regional capital under Moscow’s control. Retaking it would be a major accomplishment for President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

    Focused on victory at all costs, Mr. Putin has become a more public face of the war as the Russian military appears increasingly in turmoil, forcing him to announce a call-up this week that could sweep 300,000 Russian civilians into military service. This month, Moscow has demonstrated it has too few troops to continue its offensive, suffers from shortages of high-tech precision weaponry and has been unable to gain dominance of Ukraine’s skies.

    But American officials briefed on highly sensitive intelligence said that behind the scenes Mr. Putin is taking on an even deeper role in the war, including telling commanders that strategic decisions in the field are his to make. Although Mr. Putin has accepted some recommendations from military commanders, including the mobilization of civilians, his involvement has created tensions, American officials said.

    The officials said that Mr. Putin’s rejection of a military pullback from Kherson has also led to a decrease in morale among Russian troops who have been mostly cut off from their supply lines, and who appear to believe they could be left stranded against Ukrainian forces.

    “The situation in Ukraine is clearly dynamic,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview on Friday. “It’s too early for a full assessment, but it is clear to me that the strategic initiative has shifted to the Ukrainians.” But he cautioned that there remains a “long road ahead.”

    Mr. Putin’s disagreements over battle lines in Kherson illustrate how critical the war in Ukraine’s south is to both sides, American officials said. Despite Ukraine’s recent advances in the northeast, the area around Kherson is a critical theater in the war, with profound strategic implications for Kyiv and Moscow.

    Some American officials said they saw trouble ahead for the Russian military in the southern theater. A senior U.S. official said this week that Ukraine was well on its way to repeating in the south the gains its forces had managed during a lightning offensive in the northeast earlier this month. If Ukraine pushes Russian forces back farther, Mr. Putin’s hard-fought-for land bridge to Crimea, the territory it captured from Ukraine and annexed in 2014, could eventually be threatened, American officials said.
    The divisions over Kherson are only the latest disagreements between Mr. Putin and his top commanders. Senior Russian officers repeatedly questioned the early plans for the war, American officials said, particularly an initial stage that envisioned a quick strike on Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. The Russian officers believed Mr. Putin was going to war with insufficient troops and weaponry, American officials said.
    The Russian officers’ concerns proved correct, and after the defeat of the Russian army outside Kyiv, Mr. Putin eased up his control of military planning. He allowed senior generals to create a new strategy focused on massive artillery barrages, American officials said. The new strategy was effectively a grinding war of attrition that played to the Russian military’s strength and succeeded in pushing the army forward in eastern Ukraine.

    Since Putin ordered his commanders to continue fighting in Kherson, the Russian military has tried to halt the Ukrainian advance there. Last week the Russians blew up a dam on the Inhulets River to make the current counteroffensive more difficult.

    But Ukrainian strikes have blown up the crossings over the Dnipro River, which has largely cut off Russian troops from their supply lines on the other side. Russians have had to use pontoon bridges to cross the river, only to see them hit by Ukrainian fire, Ukrainian officials said.
    “They’ve got units in there who, if the Ukrainians break through the lines, will be cut off and surrounded,” said Seth G. Jones, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

    With dissent rising in Russia, and military-age men attempting to flee the country to avoid the call-up, U.S. officials say Mr. Putin believes another Ukrainian victory would further erode the popularity of the war, something he cannot risk. Videos widely shared on Twitter in the days since Mr. Putin announced his call-up show angry draftees being scolded by shouting Russian military officials.

    Putin’s conversations with his regional military commanders in Ukraine may also be part of an effort to get more accurate assessments of the campaign. As the war has gone on, American officials have said that Mr. Putin has not been given accurate information from his top military advisers, Sergei K. Shoigu, the defense minister, and Valery Gerasimov, the Russian military’s chief of the general staff.

    In addition to blocking a retreat from Kherson, Mr. Putin has raised doubts about Russian efforts to consolidate their position in the northeast near the Oskil River, which the Ukrainian counteroffensive reached this month. Mr. Putin, an American official said, has opposed pulling back there as well, because he is reluctant to hand anything to Mr. Zelensky that looks like a win.

    Even as Mr. Putin demands a strategy of no further retreats, American officials said Russian officers themselves are divided on how to respond to the Ukrainian counteroffensives. Some officers believe they should push back hard on Mr. Putin’s directives before the Ukrainians break through their current lines. Others believe they can follow through on Mr. Putin’s directives.

    Russia has continued to focus on the south, despite Ukrainian progress east of Kharkiv. While Moscow has sent some reinforcements to embattled northeastern positions, most of the tens of thousands of troops that Russia sent south to the Kherson area — including some of its best combat forces — remain in place.

     

    Caliber.Az




Read also

ISW: Belarus blames Ukraine, NATO for growing number of provocations on Belarus-Ukraine border

02 December 2022 - 10:30

FIFA World Cup day 12 results, groups standings

02 December 2022 - 09:50

WB official: Ukraine's restoration needs over $349 billion

02 December 2022 - 10:51

Moldova urges Russia to withdraw troops from Transnistria

02 December 2022 - 10:38

US air defence systems may relocate from Middle East to Ukraine

02 December 2022 - 10:23

Pentagon to allocate Lockheed Martin $431 million for HIMARS production

02 December 2022 - 10:10
ADVERTS
Latest news

    Russia establishes "new cooperation format" with breakaway Georgian region

    02 December 2022 - 11:00

    WB official: Ukraine's restoration needs over $349 billion

    02 December 2022 - 10:51

    Türkiye will not allow existence, activities of any terrorist group in region: National Security Council

    02 December 2022 - 10:45

    Moldova urges Russia to withdraw troops from Transnistria

    02 December 2022 - 10:38

    ISW: Belarus blames Ukraine, NATO for growing number of provocations on Belarus-Ukraine border

    02 December 2022 - 10:30

    US air defence systems may relocate from Middle East to Ukraine

    02 December 2022 - 10:23

    US Senators introduce legislation to acknowledge Wagner Group as terrorist organisation

    02 December 2022 - 10:17

    Pentagon to allocate Lockheed Martin $431 million for HIMARS production

    02 December 2022 - 10:10

    US taking keen interest in dialogue between Baku and Yerevan

    Pursuing its goals

    02 December 2022 - 10:04

    FMs of Azerbaijan, Norway, Romania discuss regional, int'l situation

    PHOTO

    02 December 2022 - 09:58

    FIFA World Cup day 12 results, groups standings

    02 December 2022 - 09:50

    Politico: Azerbaijan grappled with reconstruction in one of world’s most densely mined areas

    02 December 2022 - 09:43

    Azerbaijani FM, EU foreign policy chief meet in Poland

    02 December 2022 - 09:35

    Azerbaijan interested in applying Serbian agricultural expertise in liberated lands

    02 December 2022 - 09:23

    FM: Sending so-called “needs assessment mission” to Armenia without consensus blatant violation of OSCE mandates

    02 December 2022 - 09:10

    Map reveals most dangerous places in world to visit in 2023

    PHOTO

    02 December 2022 - 09:00

    Saudi Arabia, Spain ink deal to build combat ships for Saudi Navy

    02 December 2022 - 08:34

    Russian peacekeepers continue distorting toponyms in Karabakh despite appeals by Azerbaijan

    02 December 2022 - 08:30

    Chargé d'Affaires of France in Azerbaijan summoned to Foreign Ministry

    02 December 2022 - 08:15

    Robots learning to brace themselves against walls to avoid falling

    VIDEO

    02 December 2022 - 08:05

    Prince William thanks "Hardy Bostonians" for braving the rain on first official outing in Boston

    PHOTO

    02 December 2022 - 07:33

    BAE Systems announces partners for Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle design

    02 December 2022 - 07:03

    Drivers increasingly ditching Toyota, Honda gas cars in favor of EVs

    02 December 2022 - 06:31

    Twitter becomes stage for China protests despite ban by Beijing

    02 December 2022 - 06:04

    House votes to pass bill forcing rail labor deal to avoid strike

    02 December 2022 - 05:37

    Korean Air offers lie-flat seats for smaller A321neo planes

    02 December 2022 - 05:06

    CNN begins layoffs amid economic uncertainty, cost-cutting pressures from parent company

    02 December 2022 - 04:37

    Disney’s new neural network can change actor’s age with ease

    VIDEO

    02 December 2022 - 04:05

    New York, Singapore world’s most expensive cities right now

    PHOTO

    02 December 2022 - 03:36

    Buckingham Palace staff member resigns after exchange with black guest

    02 December 2022 - 03:04

    Elon Musk’s Neuralink shows brain implant prototype, robotic surgeon during recruiting event

    02 December 2022 - 02:32

    US appeals court rejects Biden’s bid to reinstate student debt plan

    02 December 2022 - 02:03

    China softens tone on COVID severity after protests

    02 December 2022 - 01:35

    Türkiye's future drone carriers

    02 December 2022 - 01:04

    Joe Biden shares picture of ice cream trip with Macron

    02 December 2022 - 00:33

    US official: TikTok poses "legitimate national security concerns"

    02 December 2022 - 00:02

    Ex-engineer files age discrimination complaint against SpaceX

    01 December 2022 - 23:34

    UN General Assembly votes in favor of commemorating Palestinian "Nakba"

    01 December 2022 - 23:02

    Azerbaijani artist’s sculptural rugs blur line between art, craft, optical illusion

    PHOTO

    01 December 2022 - 22:31

    Azerbaijan, Georgia initiate new "Great Game" with Europe

    01 December 2022 - 22:03

    US House Democrats elect Hakeem Jeffries as first Black party leader

    01 December 2022 - 21:32

    Pakistani banks showing interest in Azerbaijani market

    01 December 2022 - 21:00

    Journalist: Iranian people's curse drives national team out of 2022 World Cup

    01 December 2022 - 20:48

    Azerbaijani minister informs MEPs about Zangazur corridor

    01 December 2022 - 20:33

    San Francisco to allow police “killer robots”

    01 December 2022 - 20:19

All news