Status: 06.12.2023, 05:05 a.m.
By: Marius Gogolla
On the Dnipro River, Ukrainian soldiers are almost defenseless against winter. Two courses of action could enable them to hold the positions.
Kherson – At the beginning of the second winter during the Ukraine war, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are facing challenges: for the soldiers on the Dnipro River, the situation is coming to a head, as most of their positions are not yet winterized, says Markus Reisner in an interview with N-TV. Reisner is a military expert and a colonel in the Austrian Armed Forces.
Winter is getting hard: Ukrainian soldiers are returning to their position after a deployment. © IMAGO/Madeleine Kelly
The Ukrainian soldiers are at a disadvantage compared to the Russian army: their positions are located in open terrain, which means that they are almost defenseless against the low temperatures. Russia, on the other hand, was able to prepare its positions and make them winter-proof.
Nevertheless, Ukraine was recently able to celebrate a success in its counteroffensive and force Russia to retreat along the Dnipro River near Kherson.
Ukrainian soldiers rotate at the positions on the Dnipro River
One way to seek shelter from the cold weather is to regularly change Ukrainian soldiers on the front line. Videos show how new soldiers are brought to the front in armored vehicles. From there, the soldiers, who have been waiting in the cold for some time, are taken to warm accommodations.
The problem with this is that the Russian army is using Ukraine's rotational movements to its advantage and attacking with artillery and drones, Reisner explains. This leads to losses among the Ukrainian armed forces.
"In the open area outside the city, they have been under constant fire from Russian artillery and first-person view drones in recent weeks," says Reisner. As a result, preparation for the winter was only possible to a limited extent, and many of the positions had not yet been winterized. The Russian soldiers, on the other hand, would have the advantage that they have already set up their defensive positions for months.
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Ukrainian soldiers use small stoves in their positions
Another way for Ukrainian soldiers to survive the winter is to heat their positions. As in the first winter during the Ukraine war, Ukrainian soldiers are using small stoves to keep warm. However, the rising smoke gives away their positions, so that the Russian soldiers can attack them in a targeted manner.
The Ukrainian positions will thus also become an easy target for drones, reports the editorial network Germany. "The drones throw hand grenades into the stovepipes or plunge into their target and blow up the entire position," says Reisner.
Russia attacks Ukraine's critical infrastructure with drones
As in the last winter of the war, experts expect Russia to attack Ukraine's critical infrastructure. According to reports, the Russian army has hoarded hundreds of cruise missiles in Crimea, among other places, for this purpose in recent months, according to an article in the Austrian daily Der Standard.
It is true that Ukraine has prepared well against Russian air and drone attacks and is able to fend off between 80 and 90 percent of attacks, also thanks to arms deliveries by the West. But if Russian attacks, for example with drones, on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure "remain at the same level in the intensity that we have recently experienced," the question arises as to whether Ukraine has enough ammunition to defend itself against the attacks, Reisner points out. (mag)