Ukraine military boasts of UK-supplied ‘Wolfhound’

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Russian troops in eastern Ukraine are buckling under a relentless barrage of HIMARS missiles – with one expert describing the situation as a “turkey shoot”. The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is a light multiple rocket launcher first deployed in Ukraine in June, which has been credited with turning the tide of the war, triggered by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to order a full-scale invasion on February 24.

The hardware has enabled Volodymyr Zelensky’s forces to regain large chunks of land in the east, with soldiers currently pushing towards the western bank of the strategically vital Dnipro River.

As a result military Phillips O’Brien, a professor of strategic studies at St Andrew’s University in Scotland, said the Russian lines in the region were collapsing, as military commanders struggle to coordinate their units.

Prof O’Brien told the Kyiv Independent newspaper: “If they were smart, they’d pull back to the east bank of the Dnipro.

It’s a turkey shoot of the Russians

Professor Phillips O’Brien

“They’re stuck on the west bank, they’re having real trouble getting supplies across. So they’re trying to maintain a modern army with very weak supply lines.

He added: “It’s a turkey shoot of the Russians. The Ukrainians are trying to degrade Russian forces, that’s their number one goal.

“The more they degrade, the more open areas they’re going to find in other places.

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“Ukrainians will probably be happy if the Russians stand and fight.”

Prof O’Brien’s analysis tallies with that of a senior military official during a background briefing at the Pentagon on Monday.

They explained: “Down in the Kherson region where Ukraine is conducting their counter-offensive the Russians essentially are in a defensive crouch.

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“They are fighting, obviously. But they’re in a defensive crouch, as opposed to further north up near Bakhmut where it’s more offensive in nature.” 

Investigative project Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) agreed, suggesting Russia had “painted itself into a corner” in the region.

Despite their precarious position, retreat is not an option for Russian forces, especially given today Putin signed a law incorporating Kherson, along with Donetsk, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia into Russia.

A new map published by Russian state news agency RIA included the full territory of the Ukrainian provinces, but some parts were shaded and labelled as being under Ukrainian military control.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of the new regions: “They will be with Russia forever,” insisting that settlements recaptured by Ukraine in recent days “will be returned”.

Putin said Russia would “stabilise” the situation in the four provinces.

In one of his first moves to assert his rule over them, he ordered the Russian state to seize control of Europe’s biggest nuclear power station, still run by Ukrainian engineers despite being captured early in the war by Russian troops.

Andriy Yermak, head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said on Telegram of the annexation moves, which he said reminded him of a “collective madhouse”: “Worthless decisions by a terrorist country are not worth the paper they are signed on.”

Ukraine has so far given few details of its most recent military gains, in line with a policy of withholding comment about advances while they are under way.

Speaking last night, President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “This week alone, since the Russian pseudo-referendum, dozens of population centres have been liberated. 

“These are in Kherson, Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk regions all together.”

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