ISW: The Armed Forces Command had to make a difficult choice between strengthening the defense of Sievierodonetsk and advancing in Kherson oblast

Oleg Panfilovych

Ukraine had to make a difficult choice between stepping up progress in Kherson oblast and defending Sievierodonetsk in favor of the former, as the southern oblast is more strategically important.

This was reported by the Institute for the Study of War.

Experts believe that Kherson oblast is critical, as it is the only region of Ukraine where the occupiers hold positions on the west bank of the Dnipro. If Russia can stay in the Kherson region after the cessation of hostilities, it will have a very strong position from which to launch an invasion in the future. But when Ukraine liberates Kherson oblast, it will be much stronger to protect itself from a future Russian attack.

The US Institute notes that Ukraineʼs leadership had to make an incredibly difficult but generally correct choice: the Ukrainian commandʼs decision not to allocate more resources to save Sievierodonetsk and the decision to leave were strategically justified, albeit painful. Therefore, Ukraine still has a good chance to stop and then nullify Russiaʼs achievements.

According to ISW, successful Ukrainian counterattacks in Kherson oblastshow that the Ukrainian command is aware of these realities and uses vulnerabilities created by Putinʼs decisions.

"Ukraine must husband its more limited resources and focus on regaining critical terrain rather than on defending ground whose control will not determine the outcome of the war or the conditions for the renewal of war," the Institute said in a statement.

It is also noted that the correct determination of Ukrainiansʼ priorities in counter-offensive and defense operations pushed the Russians almost beyond the reach of Kharkiv and stopped the Russian offensive in the Izium area — and these achievements are more important than the defense of Sievierodonetsk.