The fall of the southern city of Kherson is a bitter blow for Ukraine. It may result in the loss of Odessa and cut the country off from the sea.

Kherson controls a freshwater canal which prior to Russia’s annexation of Crimea provided the peninsula with fresh water. The supply was cut but will now be reconnected. More importantly, the way is now open for land forces to head westwards towards Odessa and, together with amphibious and airborne troops, launch an attack on the city. From there, along the Black Sea coast, it’s about another 100km to the Romanian border. Just to the north of that border is Moldova’s pro-Russian breakaway region of Transnistria where Russia keeps about 2,000 troops.