The Kinburn Spit, a barely three-mile-long finger of sand and brush that extends from the larger Kinburn Peninsula into the Black Sea near the mouth of the Dnipro River south of Kherson. It and the nearby peninsula are the final areas of Ukraine’s Mykolaiv Oblast still occupied by Russia.
The order was given six months after Ukrainian brigades had resumed their bombardment of Russian supply lines in the south while rearmed with American rocket launchers and European howitzers, and two months after those same brigades had launched a counteroffensive to liberate Mykolaiv and Kherson Oblasts. The Kinburn Spit was taken by Russian forces in the middle of June as they encountered fierce resistance a few miles south of Mykolaiv city while advancing southward after having already routed Kherson city. One of the last wins for the Russian army in the south would end up being the capture of the spit. Prior to the start of the southern counteroffensive in Ukraine, a four-month counterlogistics campaign had already begun. Kinburn is crucial, according to the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, D.C., Russian control of the sandy stretch “will allow them to exert wider control of the Black Sea coast.” described in June. For the Ukrainians, Kinburn serves as a back door—a way to move troops onto the Dnipro’s left bank without having to cross the water while under fire. The odds should be in their favor if and when the Ukrainians land in large numbers on Kinburn. Mike Martin, a fellow at the Department of War Studies at King’s College in London, said, “With the recent advances in Kherson, this is well inside massed artillery range.” He specifically refers to Ukrainian artillery. In Kherson and Mykolaiv, “the Russians are finding it very hard to hold,” Martin continued. They might give away the Kilburn Spit as the next piece of Ukraine.