Ukraine's Kherson Push Will Be 'Very Bloody,' U.S. Veteran Trainer Says

The nascent Ukrainian operation to push occupying Russian troops out of the south of the country will be costly for both sides, an American veteran training Ukrainian forces

has told Newsweek. Erik—who did not wish to share his full name for security reasons—is a 26-year veteran of U.S. special forces. Erik is now volunteering as a member of

the Mozart Group, founded by former Marine Corps Colonel Andy Milburn, which has been training Ukrainian troops and engaging in humanitarian missions across the war torn

nation. Erik and his colleagues have been preparing Ukrainian forces now taking part in a counter-offensive towards the occupied city of Kherson and its eponymous

surrounding region. The operation—details of which are being closely guarded by the Ukrainian state—will require a change in mentality and resilience against high

casualties, Erik said. "Ukraine, in many ways, has been on the defensive," the American veteran told Newsweek from close to the southern front line on Friday. "When you're

on defense the circumstances for victory are better on your side than if you're on offense." "They're having to change the mentality," he said. Each phase of

fighting in Ukraine has been shaped by local conditions. Russia's early drive towards Kyiv became bogged down in the thick forests and wetlands to the north of the capital. In the

east and south, Ukrainian and Russian troops have been fighting over flat, open steppes dotted with settlements. Retaking Kherson and other occupied southern cities like

Melitopol will require advancing Ukrainian troops to root the Russians out of urban areas.