According to a post via Telegram channel for the Russian administrators of Kherson, Russia is drafting civilians into an improvised militia to aid in the defense of Kherson.
In a notice on Telegram, the occupation authorities said men had the "opportunity" to join territorial defence units if they chose to remain in Kherson of their own free will.However, men in other occupied Ukrainian regions such as Donetsk have previously been compelled to join up and fight with the armies of Russia's proxies in the war with Ukraine.
In a notice on Telegram, the occupation authorities said men had the "opportunity" to join territorial defence units if they chose to remain in Kherson of their own free will.
However, men in other occupied Ukrainian regions such as Donetsk have previously been compelled to join up and fight with the armies of Russia's proxies in the war with Ukraine.
It seems improbable that such defense measures are the product of a well planned and resourced defensive strategy. Even if such a militia is comprised of willing recruits, lack of training will make them utterly ineffective in conventional combat situations. Ad hoc militias thrown together at the last minute is a desperation defense, and would be the clearest signal yet that Russia does not expect to hold Kherson.
At the same time, Moscow is seeking to increase the tension internationally with its rhetoric suggesting Ukraine is pushing the conflict towards “uncontrolled escalation”, in a flurry of calls with the US Secretary of Defense and several EU counterparts.
Shoigu discussed the “rapidly deteriorating situation” in phone calls with his British, French and Turkish counterparts and also spoke by phone with the US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, for the second time in three days. The Pentagon said Austin told Shoigu he “rejected any pretext for Russian escalation”.
Almost presciently, shortly after the Russian Defense Minister pointed an accusatory finger at Ukraine, four more apparent explosions were recorded near Vyborg, in the vicinity of the Russian end of the Nord Stream pipeline.
As seismologist Jari Kortström noted, we can talk about small explosions. "If the source is dynamite, then it is no more than 50-100 kg," the publication quoted him as saying. It is noted that Kortström refused to talk about the cause of seismic events.
If that is a fresh act of sabotage on Nord Stream, it is a most bizarre one. The pipeline has already been damaged probably beyond repair—further demolition accomplishes nothing from either a military nor an economic perspective.
Yet with Russia unable to find its footing around Kherson, and with the Russian Defense Minister speaking cryptically about “uncontrolled escalation”, it would be an amazing coincidence for such explosions near Vyborg to have nothing to do with Nord Stream.
While it is premature to make any serious predictions about what will happen in Kherson, there is a growing probability that if Russian defenses collapse in Kherson, their entire military position in Ukraine may quickly follow, leaving Russia utterly unable to further prosecute the war it chose to initiate.
What “uncontrolled escalation” might follow from such an eventuality is not a comforting speculation.