The 106th Airborne Division, based out of Tula south of Moscow, is one of the Elite units of the Russian Army – and plays a major role in the war against Ukraine. But its commanders live dangerously: since the Ukrainian army in June, the first mobile Himars-M142– Missile systems of US production and British M270rocket launchers, they are increasingly successful in destroying dozens of Russian ammunition depots, command posts, and staging areas.
For example, the 106th Airborne Division is supposed to respond to Ukrainian hits on 20th June and 8th of July lost all deputy commanders. In the past week alone, the Ukrainians “hit more than ten large ammunition dumps, several oil depots, around ten command centers and the same number of troop staging areas,” complained former Russian intelligence officer Igor Girkin (pseudonym: Strelkov), who was deployed by the Kremlin in eastern Ukraine in 2014. on his Telegram channel on 10th of July. Russia has suffered “great losses in men and equipment” and the Russian anti-aircraft defense system is “ineffective against massive attacks with Himars-rockets”.
Undoubtedly, the Western rocket launchers have a positive effect on the Ukrainians in the war. But Russia has also stepped up its attacks with grenades, rockets and cruise missiles in recent days: not just on dozens of villages and towns in the Donetsk region, which Moscow wants to conquer entirely, but also in the Kharkiv region, in Mykolaiv and the Odessa region. Mykolayiv in southern Ukraine alone was hit by at least 19 Russian missiles on Tuesday morning, according to military governor Vitaly Kim. There is much destruction and “many sufferers”. In the town of Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region, where a five-story apartment building was hit on Saturday, rescue teams have recovered 35 dead civilians.
The war is months, possibly years, from its end. In the Donetsk region, the Russians fired on the villages and towns they planned to capture, such as Bakhmut and Druzhkivka, Kramatorsk and Sloviansk slowly but surely ready for a storm. The Ukrainians, for their part, want to recapture the Kherson region. The Black Sea region to the west of the Crimean peninsula has been largely occupied by the Russians since the beginning of the war – and is strategically crucial for attacking Odessa if necessary and maintaining the blockade of the ports, with which Moscow is suffocating the Ukrainians economically.
President Selensky ordered the recapture of the Black Sea coast up to Mariupol
At the weekend, the Ukrainians announced a major offensive to liberate Cherson, and Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Wereshchuk called on the remaining Ukrainians in the region to flee. The Vice Prime Minister’s powers of persuasion suffered from the fact that both the Ukrainian general staff and Vereshchuk himself had repeatedly made such announcements.
“Kherson, hold on – we’re coming!”, announced the General Staff on May 29th. “Please go,” Wereshchuk then demanded on June 20th, “because our army will definitely de-occupy these countries… The de-occupation will be very fast. There will definitely be a counter-offensive.” In fact, however, the Ukrainians are only advancing militarily at a snail’s pace and, although they have captured a few villages in the past few weeks, they are a long way from recapturing the city of Cherson and the areas beyond it in the direction of Crimea. On Tuesday the Ukrainian general staff listed 17 villagesin which the Russian artillery prevented a further advance of the Ukrainians.
Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said the English Sunday Times at the weekend, President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered the military reconquest not only of the Cherson region, but of the entire coastal strip leading to Mariupol. Ukraine has a force of 700,000 soldiers and another 300,000 national guards, border troops and police officers at its disposal.
But for the foreseeable future, these figures are just as much wishful thinking as the major offensive to recapture the Ukrainian coastal areas. According to the London Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), publisher of the “Military Balance” reference work on the world’s armies, the Ukrainians initially went to war against Russia with a good 125,000 soldiers ready for action and another 100,000 paramilitary national guards and border troops.
Since then, the Ukrainians have lost tens of thousands of soldiers to death or wounds, and more than 7,000 are in Russian captivity. After Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation, Defense Minister Ben Wallace confirmed that England would train 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers. But that takes almost four months; currently only the first 600 Ukrainians are being trained in England, reported the english one Guardians.