Retired US General Mark Hertling said on Saturday that Ukrainian troops’ morale was “high” as the eastern European country continued to launch counter-offensives against Russian forces in a bid to retake Russian-held territories, including the Kherson region.
During a recent interview, an unnamed spokesman for the Ukrainian Army’s 63rd Brigade smiled and ate watermelon, a symbol of Kherson Oblast, where the fruit is mainly grown, when asked about the region’s possible liberation, UkraineWorld reported on Saturday.
The spokesman said he could not comment on a possible recapture of the Kherson region, but added that more information is awaited from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
In response to the brigade spokesman’s comments, Hertling tweeted: “Fascinating contrast. While Russian recruiters pursue conscripts and those already mobilized, complain about equipment, sleep on the ground and even get shot by their own if they don’t join the attack, Ukrainian morale remains high as they await the liberation of Kherson.”
Meanwhile, Moscow is facing desertion among its troops, difficulties in recruiting motivated fighters and obtaining equipment and armor, according to experts and Ukrainian officials.
Alexander Štupun, the Ukrainian spokesman for the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said in a military update this week that Russian army leaders recently ordered their troops in Donetsk to temporarily halt fighting in the region amid low morale and desertions.
“In some combat zones, including in the Donetsk region, enemy units received orders from higher commanders to temporarily suspend offensive actions,” Štupun said on Wednesday. “The main reason is the extremely low moral and psychological state of supply, numerous facts of desertion from among the mobilized and non-compliance with combat orders.”
Kyle Haynes, an associate professor in Purdue University’s Department of Political Science, said news week on Thursday that Russia is temporarily suspending combat in Donetsk “largely confirms what everyone already knew: that Russia’s mobilization is not going smoothly and will not make a meaningful difference on the battlefield, at least for the next few months.”
In recent weeks, Ukraine has retaken a number of Russian-held territories in counter-offensives, while Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military has struggled with poor leadership. The liberated areas include parts of the Kherson region and the village of Makiivka in the Luhansk region.
Ukraine has also received increased support from the West, with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov recently announcing that his country has received four more Highly Mobile Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) supplied by the United States, which had a destructive effect when they were used against Russia attacks.
He also confirmed that other military support is on the way, including National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) deployed to protect against Russian missiles and drones.
“A new era of air defense has begun [Ukraine]’ Reznikov tweeted at the time.
news week has reached out to Hertling and the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/ukraine-moral-high-amid-kherson-offensive-russia-disarray-general-1752189 Ukraine morale ‘high’ amid Kherson offensive as Russia in disarray: General