That Ukraine retook Kherson is, of course, excellent news. However, the fact that they did so without an actual battle, after the Russian troops retreated, clearly shows that Russia is playing the long game, regrouping, digging in, trying to ensure that they won’t be pushed back even farther and preparing for even worse attacks. And the fact that this happened before winter also means that they’ll feel even more free to strike Ukraine’s infrastructure and make what is already certain to be a dreadful winter for the population even worse, and of course also that Kherson is now a prime target for such attacks, since their story will be that only Ukrainian troops and “terrorists” are left there, after they supposedly evacuated civilians.
So it can be said that this was the easy part. Not that it wasn’t already clear that winter was going to be terrible, but the fact that the invaders are no longer acting rashly and are using this time to prepare for what’s to come makes it clear that it’ll be even worse than it might have seemed not long ago, and that their position isn’t as weakened as some might be inclined to think. Which obviously also means that it’s not the time for negotiations, and that the US officials who seem to be trying to push Ukrainians towards them are in the wrong. But at least it would now seem that the political branch has realized it, though what makes it particularly surprising is that the military apparently still hasn’t, so this seems to be one of those rare situations when politicians are doing the right thing… Or at least less of the wrong thing, since the right thing would be to actually defend Ukraine, directly, and to have done so from the beginning, to at least make up in this small way for the crime of having allowed the situation to get to that point in the first place, when they could and should have acted at least since 2008, if not even earlier.
On the other hand, I’ll also add here that China is becoming ever more of a direct threat, obviously first to Taiwan, but in fact to the world as a whole. They have been waiting and watching, and the fact that so far the West has done just about enough to keep Ukraine afloat most probably stayed their hand until now, but it’s becoming increasingly likely that this won’t last, and Russia digging in for the winter in Ukraine is likely to encourage them, offering them time to pick the moment of attack while the West will be increasingly fatigued of supporting even one ally and ever more wary of getting involved on a second front at the same time.