It’s official: Ukrainian commandos are riding in small boats They infiltrated the Kinburn Spita three-mile finger of sand and scrub that snakes across the mouth of the Dnipro River west of Kherson, the southern port city that Ukrainian forces liberated from their Russian occupiers earlier this month.
In capturing the spit and the adjacent Kinburn Peninsula, the Ukrainians would besiege defensive positions being built by the Russians on their side of the Dnipro River. Operation Kinburn could be the first phase of a broader Ukrainian offensive targeting Russian forces on the left bank of the Dnipro River.
There are other benefits. Whoever controls the Kinburn Spit controls the mouth of the Dnipro and can dictate who ships sail from nearby Kherson and Mykolaiv to the Black Sea. The liberation of the spit contributes to the liberation of sea trade in Mykolaiv and Kherson.
There were reasons to believe that the Ukrainian army would stop and regroup after the liberation of Kherson and its pre-war population of 300,000 on November 11. The Kherson campaign was a difficult campaign. Ukrainian artillery spent months bombarding Russian supply lines in and around the city before attacking tank and infantry brigades starting in late August.
Kherson region is mostly wide open farmland criss-crossed by rivers, streams and canals. It is unhappy territory for the crews of tanks and other vehicles, who must advance in the open in full view of artillery spotters and gunship pilots. We do not know for sure how many Ukrainians died during the liberation of the northern Kherson region and the city of Kherson. potentially thousands.
The Russian army in the Kherson region was badly damaged. The Ukrainian army in the oblast may be slightly less damaged. But instead of stopping for a well-deserved rest along the right bank of the Dnipro, on the southern edge of Kherson, the Ukrainians immediately moved to the right, organized a small amphibious operation and landed special operations forces on the Kinburn Spit.
There were rumors Landing in Ukraine as early as November 14, three days after the liberation of Kherson. Videos circulating online depicted Ukrainian commandos in rigid-hulled inflatable boats speeding across what appeared to be the mouth of the Dnipro River.
The British Ministry of Defense concluded just a week later that Ukrainian forces were in control of the three-mile spit. On the same day, the Southern Command of the Ukrainian Army hinted at Operation Kinburn. Two days after that, there was clear photographic evidence of the presence of Ukrainian troops on the spit.
It is unclear how far the Ukrainians have advanced along the neighboring peninsula – and how far they have come intend to apply now. Natalia Homenyuk, Southern Command spokeswoman, He urged the Ukrainians to remain silent About the Kinburn Process.
Ukraine’s special operations forces are among the best in the world. But the command had only 1,000 people the day before in late February when Russia expanded its war into Ukraine. While Kyiv has since certainly expanded the Special Operations Command, it remains a small force — and lightly armed.
The narrow, undeveloped Kinburn Spit is good ground for riding fast-moving light infantry in small boats, but the neighboring peninsula – and the open farmland of southern Kherson Oblast – might favor heavier troops.
If Ukraine’s goal was to liberate some or all of the Kinburn Peninsula in order to facilitate sea traffic between the Black Sea and the ports of Kherson and Mykolaiv, the commandos might be able to handle the operation on their own. But if the Ukrainian commanders aimed to use the Kinburn op to encircle the Russian mechanized brigades on the left bank of the Dnieper, they might need to land heavier forces on the peninsula.
Easier said than done. The Armed Forces of Ukraine formed a large force of small boats to patrol the Dnipro River and conduct raids on the river. These boats could not lift a mechanized battalion.
If there was a wild card, it might be the 240-foot amphibious coaster Yuri Oliverenko, apparently the last surviving large ship of the Ukrainian Navy. In October, a video purportedly depicting old age went viral on the Internet Yuri Oliverenko Rockets fired at Russian forces at or near Kinburn Spit.
if Yuri Oliverenko In fact it is still up and running somewhere around Kherson, and may be in a position to move heavier forces to Kinburn. This could make the peninsula a viable staging post for a flanking maneuver aimed at the left bank of the Dnieper.