The Ukrainian military’s successful offensive in Kherson Oblast has created a dilemma for Moscow: to flee across the Dnipro River or stay and defend occupied territory, the UK’s Ministry of Defense said on Twitter on Oct. 6.
The MoD says that on Oct. 2, Ukrainian forces began a new phase of offensive operations in Kherson Oblast.
Moving south, Ukrainian units pushed the front line another 20 km, primarily by advancing along the eastern bank of the Inhulets River and the western bank of the Dnipro River, but have not yet threatened Russia’s primary defensive positions.
"Russian commanders are likely to see the growing threat to the Nova Kakhovka sector as one of their most pressing concerns," the report reads.
The damaged Dnipro crossing in the area remains one of the few ways available to them to replenish their forces, UK intelligence notes.
"Russia faces a dilemma: withdrawal of combat forces across the Dnipro makes defense of the rest of Kherson Oblast more tenable; but the political imperative will be to remain and defend," the agency added.
It is also noted that Russia has sent most of its severely understaffed airborne forces to defend Kherson.
"Therefore, Russia currently has few additional, high quality rapidly deployable forces available to stabilize the front: it likely aims to deploy mobilized reservists to the sector," UK intelligence analysts believe.
In his evening address on Oct. 4, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are advancing rapidly in the south as part of an ongoing liberation operation, and this week alone, dozens of settlements in Kherson, Kharkiv, Luhansk, and Donetsk oblasts were liberated from the occupiers' sham “referendums”.