By the evening of June 5, the situation for the Russian army had become difficult. At that time, the maps of the Rybar Telegram channel
, which is used by the GRU to quickly leak information necessary for coordinating the Russian military and their support groups, show clear control
by the Ukrainian army over the islands in the Dnieper channel up to the outskirts of Oleshky, a large city on the left bank opposite Kherson, which has direct access to the highway to Crimea. Ukrainian landings on the islands began at latest in April, though their extent was previously unclear. The islands are quite wide, densely overgrown with vegetation and thoroughly covered with one-story buildings. There are numerous dachas, sheds for boats, shops – meaning that the army has somewhere to hide.
On the same evening of June 5, Rybar quoted Two Majors, a Telegram channel associated with it, which expressed concern
about a possible operation of the Ukrainian army in the area of the Kakhovka HPP:
“A stronger blow... should be expected to the east – from Beryslav at the reservoir dam. It was for this that the enemy trained on the Inhulets River transferring equipment, building pontoon crossings and concentrated forces south of the settlement of Davydiv Brid... The capture of the dam or the construction of a crossing on a straight section of the Dnieper... will allow [the Ukrainian army] to create a bridgehead on our coast. Much more menacing than the one that could be organized by [Ukrainian] personnel in light boats near Kherson. In any case, the plans of the enemy are known, and the command and soldiers on the ground have been preparing for an enemy operation.”
The dam referred to in the above post remained the only dry route for Ukraine to transfer its troops across the Dnieper for a counteroffensive in the southern part of the front, which stretches 300 kilometers along the river. If they had managed to capture it, they could have quickly deployed pontoons located, according to previously published Russian data, in the Kryvyi Rih area, or used Western bridge-building equipment to restore connection along the upper edge of the dam.
Control over the dam would ensure control over the spillway, thus allowing for pontoon crossings, if they could be brought to the islands and simply across the Dnieper in narrow places.
In the following hour and a half, Two Majors wrote or reposted three more reports about Ukrainian landings in the Kherson region. Then both channels took a break for the night, and in the morning they informed their readers about the disaster.How does this fit in with the plans of the Russian military?
We do not know whether the Russian military had planned to do what happened or had intended only to wash away the landing forces of the Ukrainian army from the islands and flood the coast. It is possible that the full-scale disaster was not planned but was partly a case of the perpetrators’ doing too much and overcalculating the volume of explosives, and partly the result of the reaction of the “body of the dam “ to the explosion, which was not possible to calculate.
For the Russian military along the downstream coastline, what happened was clearly unexpected. They had to retreat knee-deep and even waist-deep in water. According to some reports, some soldiers died because they did not receive orders from lower-level commanders to evacuate from forward positions. On the morning of June 10, the Ukrainian media published a photo with the bodies of two drowned Russian soldiers washed ashore in Mykolaiv Region.