Ukraine Won't Take Whole Kherson Region Before 2022 Is Over: ISW

Ukrainian military forces are likely to retake control of a portion of the Kherson oblast, but not the entire region, by the end of 2022, according to a new assessment from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

"The Russian position in upper Kherson Oblast is...likely untenable; and Ukrainian forces will likely capture upper Kherson Oblast by the end of 2022," the ISW said in a Russian offensive campaign assessment on Monday. "Russian forces have begun a partial withdrawal from northwestern Kherson Oblast even while preparing to defend Kherson City. They have not launched into a full withdrawal from the city or the oblast as of this report."

The report comes as Ukraine has continued to execute counteroffensive military operations against Russian troops in an attempt to retake control of some regions. Since Russia first invaded Ukraine on February 24, the U.S. and other Western nations have continued to provide Ukraine with military assistance. Using different air defense systems provided by the U.S., Ukraine has been able to destroy numerous Russian drones.

On October 22, the ISW published an earlier assessment, which said, "Russian forces continued to withdraw from western Kherson Oblast while preparing to conduct delaying actions that will likely be only partially effective. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces have completely abandoned their positions in Charivne and Chkalove (both approximately 33km northwest of Nova Kakhovka), and Russian officers and medics have reportedly evacuated from Beryslav."

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An apartment block that was destroyed by Russian occupying forces is pictured on October 24 in Izium, Kharkiv oblast, Ukraine. On Monday, the Institute for the Study of War said in an assessment that Ukrainian forces are likely to retake control of the upper Kherson oblast by the end of 2022. Carl Court/Getty Images

While speaking with Newsweek on Tuesday, George Barros, an analyst on the Russia and Ukraine portfolio at the ISW, said that upper Kherson is a "strategically important terrain and strategically important territory" for Ukraine.

"The strategic implications for Ukrainians retaking that territory, likely by the end of the year, is that it will help foreclose Russia's offensive potential to be able to go for other key strategic littoral area in the South, near the Black Sea," Barros told Newsweek.

Barros further explained that the ISW assessment sees the Ukraine campaign seeking to just expel the Russian forces from the north bank of the Dnipro River.

"It's going to be difficult for Ukrainians to maneuver across the river, however," Barros said. "I think that, as far as the end-of-the-year campaign assessment is concerned, Ukrainian forces will likely capture the Northern bank of the river....It's necessary that the Ukrainians establish a defensive position on the Southern bank of the river; however, I think it would be optimistic to say the Ukrainians would likely, additionally do that by the end of the year."

Barros also told Newsweek that if Ukraine was able to retake control of the upper Kherson oblast, it would be considered "a major military defeat for the Russian military."

"It would be the most significant Russian military defeat since the Russians lost the battle of Kyiv, back in March of this year," he said.

Newsweek reached out to the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment.