Combined resistance movement in southern Ukraine angers Russian occupation – The Ukrainian Weekly
Kyiv says 1 million Ukrainian troops mobilized for southern counterattack
KYIV – On June 24, a car explosion killed a Moscow-based official in Kherson, a Russian-occupied port city along the Dnipro River located 450 kilometers (280 miles) south of Kyiv.
Dmytro Savluchenko was the collaborator and he headed the family, youth and sports department of the civil administration that the occupying forces had created.
He was affiliated with the now banned Sharia Party, a pro-Russian party led by blogger Anatoliy Shariy who was arrested in Spain in May at the request of authorities in Kyiv on suspicion of treason. Mr. Savluchenko was also the founder of the youth group Nova Rus (New Rus) and took part in pro-Russian rallies in the city in 2014 when Russia initially invaded the country.
His killing is part of a coordinated resistance movement involving residents of the occupied southern Kherson and Zaporizhia regions and the “defense apparatus”, said Andriy Yusov, spokesman for Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence (HUR) , to The Ukrainian Weekly.
The death of the collaborator is part of a series of explosions of cars and buildings and assassinations. The resistance hung pro-Ukrainian leaflets in the area, teachers said they would not teach the Russian curriculum, and former government officials said they did not want to cooperate with the Russian occupation authorities.
It is a combined effort between various security agencies and military units whose cooperation with the so-called local partisans has prevented Russian forces from taking full control of the two partially occupied regions.
Significant parts of the Zaporizhia and Kherson regions fell to the Russians just days after Russia launched its full-scale war against Ukraine on February 24. These regions include the vital port cities of Berdyansk, Melitopol, Zaporizhia and Kherson.
Immediately, the Ukrainians resisted by first organizing pro-Ukrainian demonstrations before the invaders began firing warning shots in the air and kidnapping civic leaders in the cities.
Thus, the resistance fighters went underground and leaflets and posters began to appear in major regional cities. Their messages included warnings about Russian attempts to hold sham referendums to shore up its occupied southern territories.
Some posters bluntly urged citizens to make Molotov cocktails and throw them at occupied administrative buildings. Others had written messages that threatened local collaborators with sanctions, while some ominously informed Russians that Ukrainian armed forces were approaching Kherson, for example.
Soon the Russians began to be killed. Car explosions were recorded and explosions were seen in government buildings.
The vehicle belonging to the Russian-imposed head of the Chernobaivka administration in Kherson Oblast exploded on June 22. The collaborator, Yuriy Turulov, was not injured.
The roadside blast left the official with “minor injuries”, said Serhiy Khlan, an adviser to the Kherson regional military administration.
Another person who escaped death on the same day was expelled from parliament and Russian collaborator Oleksiy Kovalyov. His car exploded in the Kherson region, but it is believed that he survived the explosion.
Three Russians in a cafe in Kherson were shot dead by unknown assailants on June 20. Two were killed, while a third was injured and taken to a hospital on the Ukrainian-occupied Crimean peninsula, Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported.
In the Zaporizhia regional town of Melitopol, an explosion occurred near the internal affairs building occupied by Russian forces. Andriy Shevchyk, the head of the “self-organizing council” at Enerhodar – which houses Europe’s largest nuclear power plant – was injured in an explosion at the entrance to his residence.
Together, these incidents are part of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call for the nation to make every effort to resist Russia’s war against the country and its people. The actions taken by the various security and military elements, as well as citizens of the occupied territories, have since been enshrined in law by the Verkhovna Rada, Yusov said.
He said a recent special operation in the Kherson region to rescue five captives and other undisclosed missions “would not have been so successful without local support”.
Mr Yusov was referring to a raid on a Russian-held building in a rural area of the region on July 12 that resulted in the release of a soldier, a former policeman and three civilians. Using “21st century technology” to evade restrictive Russian electronic measures, local partisans sent the coordinates of enemy targets to the Ukrainian military, he added.
Special operations forces later released a video of the operation, claiming that the Russians are “being deprived of sleep… by the Ukrainian resistance movement… [and]there will come a time when the world will be made aware of the special operations carried out by our partisans.
“Everyone participates passively or actively. … It’s a wide range of civilians who help us … and they show impressive heroism,” Mr. Yusov said. “The Russians feel their [the resistance]presence and they are not content with it.
pay a price
As the resistance movement intensifies, Russian authorities have collected hundreds of perceived threats against its occupation of Zaporizhia and Kherson regions.
As of July 8, some 400 Ukrainian civilians have been abducted, 163 of whom are in Russian captivity in Zaporizhia Oblast, according to Oleksandr Staruk, who heads the region’s military administration.
Hennadiy Lahuta, head of the Kherson regional military administration, said in June that 600 residents of the oblast were being held captive and around 400,000 to 500,000 Ukrainians remained under occupation.
“The resistance is carried out in dangerous conditions – they [local residents]risk their lives, but they know they are risking their lives to liberate their territory,” Yusov said.
Perhaps the closest resemblance between the resistance and past movements is the French resistance under Nazi German occupation during World War II, said Baltic Security Foundation senior expert in Lithuania Glen Grant.
He told The Ukrainian Weekly that just as Ukrainians risked their lives innovating with technology by avoiding stuffy Russian methods of communication, the French were “quickly tapping and using radios and hiding them again…because the Germans were looking for. … It’s really risky for everyone.
What Ukrainians do to send coordinates and communicate with the army “is unique”, he added.
Part of the effectiveness of the coordinated resistance is that the Ukrainians “still have relatively functional communications,” Grant said.
Authorities in Kyiv have announced that a massive counter-offensive is planned to retake its southern provinces by deploying up to 1 million personnel.
So far, US-supplied high-precision multiple launch rocket systems, known as HIMARS, have proven effective in hitting high-value targets, such as command posts, as well as ammunition and oil depots.
In a periodic status report on the war, Mick Ryan, a strategist and former Major General in the Australian Army, said on July 10 that, “while Ukrainian partisans [in the south]corrode Russian morale, and Ukrainian counterattacks are slowly regaining territory in Kherson, holding the south is the second element of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s victory theory because it is slowly strangling Ukraine economically.
While HIMARS and other Western-supplied materiel have proven effective, Ukraine faces the challenge of going on the offensive against fortified Russian positions in the south where there is mostly open ground.
After nearly five months on the defensive with incremental counterattacks to regain land in the south, Ukrainian forces must recalibrate their thinking to regain lost territory, Grant said.
Since a Ukrainian offensive will be “a one-on-one battle”, he said, success will depend on a leader who has “the qualities” of famed US General George S. Patton, one of world’s most famous military commanders. Second war.
This leader “shouldn’t be appalled by anything and drive hard and go with the wind,” Grant said.
However, whoever leads the counter-offensive from the South should be an “entrepreneur” because Ukraine would no longer be “defensive”, he continued. The forces involved might need “to use more volunteers instead of the regular army” because the task “requires a different, risk-taking brain.”
To succeed in the large-scale operation, “fast, small and light vehicles” would have to be employed “to strike fear of God among the Russians, get behind them and force them to flee,” Grant added. . .
This requires sufficient logistical support “near the front” without a “truce” so that the enemy “cannot stick together and confront you again”, he said.
Asked how the local partisans would be engaged in such an operation, he said the main task was to “kill the railroad”, as the Russians depend heavily on the use of trains for their logistics system.
Earlier this month, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) released a daily war report listing the various railroad strikes in and around Melitopol.
“Ukrainian partisans are increasingly targeting Russian rail lines” in Melitopol, the ISW said.
“Ukrainian partisans blew up a railway bridge about 25 kilometers north of Melitopol between Novobohdanivka and Troitske on July 7, likely further hampering Russian resupply efforts from Crimea to the Zaporizhia Oblast frontline,” indicates the report.