A turnaround in Ukraine? The Russians fled from the lightning offensive from all over Kharkiv

Liberated and still occupied areas of Ukraine. In the last few days, the Russians have been pushed out of the entire blue triangle east of Kharkiv. ISW graphics

The second week of September brought a big surprise — and related debates about a possible turn in the entire war in Ukraine. While most observers watched the fighting in the Kherson region in the south intensify at the end of August, the Ukrainian army launched a lightning offensive in the north — in the Kharkiv region. Within a few days, it managed to capture Balaklia and advance as far as Kupjansk — a key city for supplying the intervention and for the occupation administration. In response, Russian troops began to hastily withdraw from the entire region.

By the afternoon of Monday, September 12, the intervention forces had cleared the entire area west of the Oskil River and the Oskil Dam. In this way, the strategically important city of Izjum on the southern bank of the Donetsk River, which the Russians captured in the early morning and from where they attempted to invade Donbas from the north-west, or the village near the Russian border directly on Kharkiv, which the intervention had held since the beginning of February, fell into the hands of the Ukrainians. invasion.

In total, the Russians retreated from an area approximately 50 x 60 kilometers in size, i.e. 3000 km2, which corresponds to the area of ​​our Liberec region. At the same time, they left their former positions food supplies, ammunition and numerous heavy equipment.

“In a way, this is a bigger success for Ukraine than the victory in Kyiv in March. Now the Ukrainian army has shown that it can not only defend itself effectively, but also attack effectively,” evaluated in Al Jazeera’s Sunday special, analyst Frank Ledwidge from the University of Portsmouth.

A more detailed map of the liberated area. The progress of the mainstream of the current Ukrainian offensive is highlighted here with green arrows. Graphic by MilitaryLand.net/DR

Russian reaction and what will happen next

Russian sources attribute the success to Ukraine’s numerical superiority in the area — which, according to the head of the collaborationist administration there, Vitaly Ganchev “eightfold” —, Western training of Ukrainian troops and new weapons. On the whole, however, the Russian commentators remained even on Monday infected.

On the part of the Russian army, the official reason for the retreat was given as an “orderly movement” in order to “regroup forces and strengthen the Donbas front”, which at first glance is nonsense. On the contrary, holding the cleared areas (especially around Izjum) gave the interventionists the opportunity to conquer the Donbas from two sides, and thus significantly fragment the Ukrainian forces.

Dozens of different advice and theories are already circulating in the media and social networks regarding further developments. The most common talk is about the continuation of the attacking alliance further east — to the transport hub of Svatove and deep into the Luhansk region. This would give the Ukrainians the opportunity to cut off the troops that have been occupying northern Donbas since the beginning of the summer.

The second most frequent interpretation draws attention to the concentration of new Ukrainian units in the southeast, v around Vuhledar. Convoys of Russian reinforcements intercepted on the road near Mariupol, as well as demining work taking place in the area, also point to the fact that the Ukrainians will conduct another offensive here.

The third of the popular opinions holds that the Kherson front is still the most important for Ukrainians and that it would be a mistake to relax here, when the Russian contingent is de facto trapped after the destruction of strategic bridges on the right bank of the Dnieper.

In recent days, the Russian armed forces were only able to withstand a massive rocket attack on the distribution infrastructure, as a result of which most of the Kharkiv region was without power since Sunday. On Monday, another attack damaged the water supply network.

With obvious tension, we are now waiting to see what the findings will be about the behavior of Russian soldiers in the newly liberated territories — whether the so far scattered reports of rape, terror, or even the abduction of children to Russia will be confirmed. Even these facts can significantly influence the further course of the war.

Source: Deník referendum by denikreferendum.cz.

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