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Date: 23 November 2022 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
Ukraine Launches Assault On The Strategic Kinburn Peninsula
Ukrainian troops are now fighting to liberate the Kinburn Peninsula to dislodge Russian troops from their stronghold. Located on the western bank of the Dnieper River, both the peninsula and its spit are of key strategic importance.
The narrow hook-shaped Kinburn Peninsula is a strategic chokepoint for both the Dnipro and South Bug rivers, separating these two from the sea. It is 40 kilometers long while its width ranges between four and twelve kilometers. The Kinburn Spit is the narrow eight-kilometer long curving tail in the western peninsula. It is also located just four kilometers from the port of Ochakiv, controlling access to the key ports of Kherson and Mykolaiv. Russian forces launched an artillery attack at Ukrainian positions in Ochakiv, southern Mykolaiv Oblast, and other Ukrainian-controlled areas along the Black Sea coast. The Russians probably believed that a Ukrainian offensive on the peninsula would begin from the mainland, thus the east. To their surprise, Ukrainian forces attacked from the west, towards the rear of Russian positions. Reports on the Ukrainian assault appeared in the media more than a week ago. Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on November 14 said that a Ukrainian attack destroyed Russian artillery units and radio-electronic warfare equipment, adding that some airborne troops present in the area were killed. However, Ukraine is being careful in how much information it is providing about the operation. A spokesperson for Ukraine’s Operational Command South on November 15 told journalists that “the operation continues.” On November 19, Ukraine reported some further losses in Russian military personnel while adding that the operation continued just two days later. On November 22, Vitaliy Kim, the governor of Mykolaiv Oblast, said that there are three settlements on the spit still to be liberated. The peninsula is a strategic stronghold due to its geographical location. It is a foothold for Russian attacks on the Ukrainian-controlled coast on the western bank of the Dnieper River. There are just four kilometers between the spit and the mainland shore so the invaders fired Grad multiple rocket launch systems at Ochakiv. In addition, they could use their kamikaze and reconnaissance drones just 60 kilometers away from Odesa. It was the westernmost territory Russia had occupied in Ukraine. Regaining control of the Kinburn Spit is likely to mitigate the threat from Russian artillery attacks at the coast west of the mouth of the Dnieper, boost naval forces, and build up a solid military posture before possibly crossing to the eastern bank of the Dnieper River. In addition, Ukrainian forces could safeguard what is known as a grain corridor running from the port of Mykolaiv. Having claimed control of the entire peninsula, could Ukrainian troops advance towards Russian fortifications south of the lower Dnieper? Probably not. Due to the natural topography of the peninsula and its being within the reach of Russian artillery, Ukrainian forces will not risk any major movements. The peninsula is flat, with much of it covered in sand, salt marshes, and forests.
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