Military experts are closely watching the events unfolding around the city Kherson. A major battle is going to unfold for the city already in the coming days or weeks.
The main question that many ask themselves today is whether the Russian forces are going to fight for the city or they are going to retreat, possibly without a fight.
Boris Rozhin, an officer at the Center for Political and Military Journalism, believes that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are capable of attacking Kherson. They may resort to three ways to conduct the operation.
The first and most likely scenario is an offensive by the Armed Forces of Ukraine from the north — from Zelensky's home town of Krivoy Rog.
The goal of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is to weaken the Russian foothold on the right, western bank of the Dnieper.
The second option, as Rozhin sees it, is a series of landing operations that Ukraine may conduct to attack the city from the east. The expert hopes that the Russian forces are aware of such a possibility:
"Such sabotage attacks in the rearguard are unpleasant, and their consequences should not be underestimated," he said in an interview with the Vzglyad newspaper.
A third option is an attack from the west, towards the city of Nikolaev.
Although the line of contact there is closer to Kherson than to the north of the region. Ukraine has concentrated combat-ready units there.
"In order to bypass Russian defensive lines in this sector of the front, Ukraine may try to carry out an amphibious operation from the Black Sea, for example, by crossing the long mouth of the Dnieper near the height of the village of Stanislav,” Rozhin believes.
In his opinion, the General Staff of Ukraine expects that the Russian army will leave the Kherson region and the western bank of the Dnieper without a fight, as soon as it faces a threat of encirclement and supply difficulties as a result of constant shelling of river crossings.
"Indeed, there were such messages coming from Russian military and civilian authorities. The civil administration of the Kherson region called for a large-scale evacuation of civilians and government officials. In addition, General Surovikin, the new commander of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, declared his readiness to make "difficult decisions," the military expert said, adding that such hopes of Ukrainian generals to avoid the storming of Kherson were doubtful.
"For the time being, nothing has been said on the matter. The Russian troops remain on their positions that they held before the start of the evacuation of civilians from Kherson. Enemy attacks have been repelled," Boris Rozhin said.
Other experts also see the evacuation of civilians as a sign that the Russian army is preparing for heavy fighting. The plan is to take civilians out of the zone of hostilities and give the military a free hand.
Sergei Denisentsev, an expert at the Center for Analysis, Strategies and Technologies, noted in an interview with the Vzglyad newspaper:
"The main problem of the defense of Kherson is that it is located on the western, right bank of the Dnieper. This means that all logistics chains go across the river. Ukraine constantly shells the Antonovsky Bridge, which is vital for supplies, along with all other pontoon bridges."
Another danger is the possible explosion of the Dnieper dam near the settlement of Novaya Kakhovka. Zelensky does not conceal that Ukraine has plans to blow up the dam.
Commander General Sergei Surovikin and senior representatives of the civil administration Vladimir Saldo and Kirill Stremousov also spoke about it. If the dam gets blown up, it will release a massive amount of water. Several settlements along the river will be flooded and destroyed. Parts of the city of Kherson will be flooded as well. To crown it all, supply chains of the Russian army will be put out of action for a long time.
Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev presented a map in which Russia takes the entire territory of the former Ukraine