Tuesday, August 2, 2022

War With Russia Enters New Phase as Ukraine Readies Southern Counterblow; Drone Explosion Hits Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Headquarters; UKR Armed Forces Have Already De-Occupied 46 Settlements in the Kherson Region; UK spy chief says Russia 'running out of steam' in Ukraine, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Evgeniy Maloletka/Associated Press
War With Russia Enters New Phase as Ukraine Readies Southern Counterblow:
Ukrainian offensive to reclaim key port city could be pivot in conflict, with success reinforcing support for Kyiv’s fight in parts of the West
After months of Russian forces making painfully slow gains in Ukraine’s east, the focus of the war is moving to the south, where a potentially decisive phase of the conflict will play out.
Ukraine has used long-range artillery and rocket systems, including the American M142 Himars, to halt Russia’s grinding advances in the east, destroying ammunition dumps, command-and-control centers and air-defense systems that appear to have limited Moscow’s ability to supply its front lines. Now, with the help of these Western weapons, Ukraine says it is mounting a counteroffensive to take back the Southern port city of Kherson.
Russia continues its bombardment of cities across Ukraine including in the early hours of Sunday, when it launched an assault on the port of Mykolaiv, killing a prominent businessman. But for Ukraine, Kherson is an important strategic objective as the largest population center occupied by the Russians and the first city to fall. As a port, it is economically important to the Ukrainians and taking it back would deny Russian forces access to the southern coast toward Odessa.
Mick Ryan, a military strategist and retired major general in the Australian army, said the offensive will force Russia to make hard decisions about keeping troops in the Donbas or moving them south to protect Kherson.
If the Ukrainians retake the city, he said, they could be in a position to threaten Russia’s main Black Sea naval base, 150 miles away, at Sevastopol.
The Ukrainian effort to retake Kherson represents a significant development in the conflict, said Gen. Ryan. “If the Ukrainians can take that back, that will be a turning point,” he said. “But we’re not at a turning point yet.” --->READ MORE HERE
AP Photo/David Goldman
Drone explosion hits Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters:
A small explosive device carried by a makeshift drone blew up Sunday at the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean Peninsula, wounding six people and prompting the cancellation of ceremonies there honoring Russia’s navy, authorities said.
Meanwhile, one of Ukraine’s richest men, a grain merchant, was killed in what Ukrainian authorities said was a carefully targeted Russian missile strike on his home.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the drone explosion in a courtyard at the naval headquarters in the city of Sevastopol. But the seemingly improvised, small-scale nature of the attack raised the possibility that it was the work of Ukrainian insurgents trying to drive out Russian forces.
A Russian lawmaker from Crimea, Olga Kovitidi, told Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti that the drone was launched from Sevastopol itself. She said the incident was being treated as a terrorist act, the news agency said.
Crimean authorities raised the terrorism threat level for the region to “yellow,” the second-highest tier.
Sevastopol, which was seized along with the rest of Crimea from Ukraine by Russia in 2014, is about 170 kilometers (100 miles) south of the Ukrainian mainland. Russian forces control much of the mainland along the Black Sea. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++The armed forces have already de-occupied 46 settlements in the Kherson region+++++

+++++Russia 'running out of steam' in Ukraine, UK spy chief says+++++

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