Ukraine

This strategic strip of salt-marsh land could be key to Ukraine's next offensive

An outcrop of land that is just 25 miles long, six miles wide and covered in salt marshes could be the key to Ukraine's next offensive, according to experts in warfare strategy.

The Kinburn Peninsula is a hook-shaped outcrop of land at the mouth of the Dnipro Estuary which, if taken, could help Ukraine push the Russians out of Crimea.

Ukraine's challenge is crossing the river and pushing into Crimea, which would involve a major amphibious assault fraught with danger – some experts believe these steps are already in place with Ukrainian forces already sending troops around Russia’s western flank onto the peninsula.

Kinburn Peninsula is flat, with much of it covered in sand and salt marshes but at the far end is a thin five-mile-long 'tail' called the Kinburn spit.

It is there that analysts believe Ukrainian troops, perhaps special forces, have landed, using small boats to travel the two-and-a-half miles from the coastal town of Ochakiv to the peninsula.

Dr Alessio Patalano, Professor of War Studies at King's College London, said: "Once they can secure the beachhead as it were, and start positioning artillery on opposites sides of the river, then you've got two situations that you will be able to do.

"One, you are protecting your flanks, basically making it much harder for the Russians to push you again back on the other side of the river -  regaining the reins for the Russians is going to be more complicated."

He added: "The other this is, the peninsula is geographically positioned in a way that you can put your artillery and coastal defences in a way, you can push your coastal defences further but what you can do is protect the main port and logistical hubs ... you are also creating on the flank, a protection of Ukrainian forces from potential Russian retaliation." 

The Kinburn Peninsula 18112022 CREDIT Google Earth
The Kinburn Peninsula (Picture: Google Earth).

The Kinburn Peninsula was the most westerly mainland point that Russian troops took during the invasion.

With the liberation of Kherson, the Russians are now in range of Ukrainian guns.

Satellite imagery reportedly has shown Russian forces setting up defensive positions at the entrance to the peninsula to try and stop a Ukrainian breakout.

This latest amphibious assault by Ukraine comes just a few weeks after they used drone boats to attack the Russian Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol.

Dr Patalano believes this is further evidence of how Kyiv is on the front foot.

"We could very well be looking at in a few months time, looking back and saying this was the point in time when all things changed in a pretty much definitive fashion.

"If they manage to secure a foothold on the opposite side of the river, I see no reason why they couldn't push the Russians out of Crimea altogether."