A former U.S. general has forecast the surrender of Russian forces in Kherson, a strategic city in Ukraine.
The Kherson region has been almost entirely controlled by Russian troops since March, when it became the first major city to fall during Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian forces have launched a counteroffensive to take back the critical port city.
Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling commented Monday on a Ukrainian soldier’s video from the frontlines showing destroyed Russian positions in Kherson.
According to Hertling’s analysis on Twitter, the footage indicated “extremely poor soldier discipline” and “horrible fieldcraft/training” in the Russian army. It appeared that lower-level leadership was in crisis while senior leaders were not circulating information, said Hertling. Meanwhile, morale was plunging and the potential for disease was rising, he said.
The ex-general predicted Russia’s “future surrender” in Kherson.
Hertling shared more in-depth tactical observations in another Twitter thread. He noted that Ukrainian forces had begun “shaping operations”—or countering the enemy’s ability to affect their maneuvers—using a combination of long- and short-range artillery strikes, Special Operations Forces, small unit teams and resistance warfare.
Ukraine had set up its counteroffensive to strike when and where they chose while Russia fought on the defensive to secure its ground, said Hertling. These actions have lowered Russian morale by killing a great deal of Russian soldiers and destroying equipment.
Shifting a counteroffensive to Kherson was a “brilliant” strategy, according to Hertling, because the large Russian force there has a river at their back and limited supply lines. In the last few days, Ukraine has used the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARs) to destroy the bridges while they attack Russian troops.
“Reports indicate UA has been involved in intense fighting in Vysokopillya, Arkhangelske & Potemkine,” said Hertling. Meanwhile, Russian forces are reportedly falling back to the Beryslav Bridgehead. From there, it will be very difficult for them to retreat across the very wide river. Kherson only has two bridges.
Ukraine’s attacks with precision weapons are “confusing” the Russian army, which already has very low morale, poor leadership, and diminishing supplies—leaving the larger force in a “quandary,” said Hertling.
In another indication that Russia’s defense of Kherson is faltering, Kirill Stremousov, a Kremlin-installed leader of occupied Kherson, said Monday that the region’s planned referendum on joining Russia had been “paused” for security reasons.
Newsweek reached out to the Russian and Ukrainian defense ministries for comment.