Kyrylo Budanov, chief of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate, has suggested in an interview with The Drive that the operation to recapture occupied Kherson "most likely will last until the end of the next month".
According to Budanov, the most trained and most capable Russian units are currently in Kherson. A large share of them are airborne troops, special operation forces and naval infantry. These units form the backbone of the grouping, which is also being strengthened by the mobilized personnel.
He noted that the units that can pose any danger to Ukraine number about 40,000.
Ukrainian defenders are trying to encircle the city, but the Russians are trying to obstruct the Ukrainian Armed Forces' movement forward. Budanov stressed that fighting is going on every day.
One of the problems that Russians want to create for Ukraine is their threats to blow up the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant.
"In our assessment, if such a decision is taken, they will only blow up the road that goes over the dam to make it impossible to use for our vehicles and also the water locks of the dam which will cause only a partial ruination of the facility," Budanov said.
However, even under such circumstances, he says, the Russians will not be able to stop the counteroffensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The Russians might blow up the hydroelectric power plant when the Armed Forces of Ukraine takes Kherson.
"After withdrawal from the west bank, they might turn to doing it to obstruct our advancement to the east bank," Budanov suggested.
According to British intelligence, Russia continues the so-called evacuation in the temporarily occupied territories of southern Ukraine. This indicates the preparation of withdrawal from the city of Kherson.
On 28 October, the Russians gave residents of the village of Kachkarivka in Kherson Region two days to leave their homes and "evacuate".