Southern Ukraine Offensive
The Southern Ukraine Offensive is an ongoing theater of operations during the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. From their base in Russia's annexed Crimea, Russian armed forces attacked the provinces (oblasts ) from Kherson Oblast, Mykolaiv Oblast and Zaporizhia Oblast in southern Ukraine. On February 24, 2022, Russian forces engaged the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
On March 15, 2022, Russian Ministry of Defense announces that Russian forces have captured the entire territory of Kherson Oblast. Prior to March 8, a Russian detachment was heading northwest along the eastern shore of the Southern Bug. However, according to the Institute for the Study of War, it is likely that Ukrainian forces halted this advance as Russian forces faced growing supply and logistical problems. Elements of the Southern Offensive joined forces with elements of the Eastern Ukrainian Offensive to surround and jointly bombard the city of Mariupol. By completely taking the city, the Russian forces of the two offensives will thus be able to establish a land link linking Crimea to the rest of Russia.
Following Russia's annexation of Crimea after the Ukrainian Maidan Revolution, tensions remained high between the Ukrainian government (supported by the international community) and Moscow. For several months, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have been organizing mass exercises on the Ukrainian border. These exercises bringing together thousands of Russian soldiers worried the Ukrainians just like certain States, President Biden calls for the evacuation of American citizens. The Crimea had been reinforced by these exercises with ten thousand Russian fighters.
Capture of Southern Kherson Oblast by the Russians
After Putin's announcement of the start of a "special military operation" in Ukraine, explosions took place all over the country, including in Kherson. Ukrainian border guards posted a video showing armored vehicles crossing the border from Crimea to reveal the invasion.
The Russian fleet has set up a maritime blockade preventing any merchant ship from reaching the Ukrainian coast. Serpents' Island was attacked and taken by Russian ships. In response, the Ukrainian government banned the circulation of ships in the Sea of Azov. In the evening, Ukrainian forces stopped the Russians on the Antonivka highway bridge in Kherson. According to the governor of Mykolaiv oblast, Vitaliy Kim, reinforcements have been dispatched. The objective would be to prevent the Russians from transferring their troops to the right bank of the Dnieper River. The battle of Kherson is ongoing.
On February 25, the Ministry of Defense informed that the North Crimean Canal has been unblocked and the water supply can start when the pumps are ready. Russian forces advanced towards Nova Kakhovka. The city of Melitopol was taken by Russian troops at 06:00 (GMT).
The city of Kherson would not have fallen. The Russians would still be stuck behind the Antonivka highway bridge. Several civilian and military losses are to be deplored.
A landing by the Sea of Azov near the city of Mariupol was reported by the Pentagon. It would be several thousand soldiers rushing to the east of the country, forces probably more seasoned than those present in the north.
At 7:11 p.m. (UTC+2) on February 26, the mayor of Olechky Yevhen Ryshchuk announced that the fighting that had taken place during the day had resulted in the destruction of a gas pipeline near the village of Sahy (ru), thus depriving of gas the inhabitants of Olechky, Solontsi (uk) and Hola Prystan. According to him, the seriousness of