On Saturday, I wrote about the latest Ukrainian attack in Kharkiv Oblast that has freed some hundred sq miles. It could unravel the whole Russian invasion.
The primary focus of the report of yesterday was Kupiansk which is a vital railroad and highway hub along the Oskil river. This city is now in Ukrainian control. As I pointed out yesterday, this puts the main railway line that connects Russian military forces located within Ukraine towards Russia within the range of Ukrainian tube artillery.
It appears that the Ukrainian attack that is taking place in Kharkiv Oblast shows some signs of slowing down, in contrast to that of Russian withdrawal.
The progress continues. I was thinking that the Oskil River/reservoir that runs to the south of Kupiansk might be a signpost of progress for this stage in the mission. According to new reports, the Ukrainians have climbed into the Oskil River and are in fast pursuit of the fledgling Russians and are in the process of conquering this fake Luhansk People's Republic created by the Russians in 2014.
To the North, Ukraine was able to successfully restore the control of all its territory, including its boundary with Russia.
In my blog post from yesterday, I noted that the Russian army in Vovchansk has announced that it is taking a break. There are reports that suggest both armies in the conflict have negotiated an evacuation plan for Vovchansk and the towns around it. The Interactive Map of Critical Threats by ISW the following is how the frontline is today.
Ukrainians haven't made any progress at the border crossing point that lies between Pisky (UKR) or Logachevka (RUS), which is the point where the topmost portion of the blue-shaded region crosses the Russian border. I would guess that they don't have any interest in stopping the flow of Russian citizens who support Russia. Also, it appears that the Russians don't want to admit the immigrants.
There are a variety of opinions on the city of Lyman. Check out my report from yesterday to find the exact location and my opinion is that the claims of “contested” are too conservative. I believe Lyman has declined, but I recognize the necessity of being correct in calls for Ukrainian advancements.
The Donetsk front saw some activity. It is believed that the troops of Russian forces operating there could be higher than those who were routed in the past week. A Ukrainian mechanized group launched a rash attack with no artillery support about 12 miles north of Donetsk and was brutally beaten for their efforts, resulting in the loss of two tanks from the T-72.
The Kherson offensive continues to grind out a few miles every day, regardless of the claims of Putin's propaganda.
The Russians have been able to withdraw a distance from the western part of the sector. The theory is that they are moving their troops into the support distance of artillery located on the south bank of Dnieper River.
It could be the case, and it may also be the case that Russians are retreating across the Dnieper. All bridges that cross the river have been destroyed, and the only method to cross the river is via pontoon rafts. This requires the reduction of defense lines. Although surrendering Kherson is embarrassing, removing the city and all that lies to the north would prove an intelligent operational decision. Russia relocated around 22,000 soldiers across Kharkiv as well as Donetsk over the Dnieper to take on the invasion. I'm sure they'd want to see them again.
A fascinating story is swirling around that Russians as well as Ukrainians are discussing the possible removal of Kherson.
That might explain the relative lack of action on the Kherson front as well as the slow detachment of Russian lines. The Ukrainians could very well consider that releasing Ukrainian territory, which includes Kherson City, without a battle could be worth the expense of letting 20,000 Russian troops cross a “humanitarian corridor.”
There are significant politico-military concerns in the making.
If Ukraine, as it seems likely, moves into the territory which is owned by Potemkin republics established in 2014 by Russia at the end of 2014, the nature of the conflict will change dramatically in the field. If that happens the objectives of the ground war will be more in line with the official policy by the Ukrainian government that they plan to take back Luhansk as well as Donetsk. It also means that the “Special Military Operation” fiction used by the Kremlin is no longer a possibility.
Although Russia could not launch any missile attack or airstrike in Kherson, but they have continued to conduct what could be described as terror attacks on civilian targets that are far from battlefield. Kharkiv, is regularly hit with rocket attacks coming that originate from close to and across the Russian border. I believe that Ukraine has been limited in its capacity to respond since I've been told one of the conditions for being granted HIMARS or MLRS is that these weapons should not target Russia. A new border in northern Russia has Belgorod along with additional cities inside the 30 mile distance of the 203mm 2S7 “Pion” self-propelled guns operated by Ukraine. Any deal with any Western nation is not a legal basis for the use of these guns. It is hard to comprehend why the Ukrainian government allows attacks from Russia without the threat of retaliation.
The success of the offensive reduces the likelihood that Ukraine is interested in negotiations. In the end, President Zelensky's hard policy has become a lot more difficult.
Ukraine is showing that it can successfully conduct an offensive, a sign that tanks and planes with modern technology might be coming soon.
The coming week is expected to be just as thrilling as the one before it.