Ukraine has regained 1,000 sq. km. of territory since Sept. 1, and Russian defenses appear to be crumbling in the face of the counteroffensive
Ukraine is advancing in the east and south and receiving more money and war materiel from the U.S. and allies, sparking optimism in Kiev as Russia waits for a turn of events on the battlefield and keeps the pulse on its energy conflict.
The president of Ukraine, Volodymir Zelenski, has assured in his last message to the nation that the troops have recovered 1,000 square kilometers of territory that were in the hands of the invader; dozens of towns and villages in the east and south.
Zelenski received yesterday Thursday in Kiev the Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, after a new multimillion dollar aid of this country in armament. Blinken said that the conflict is at a “crucial moment”.
Zelenski only diverted his attention from the war for a moment to express his condolences to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth for the “irreparable loss” of Elizabeth II.
While the offensive on Kherson was predictable, what happened on the 6th caught everyone off guard. The Ukrainians have opened a second offensive at the other end of the front, in the Kharkiv Oblast.
Let us remember that the Ukrainian front is 1,100 kilometers long compared to less than 700 kilometers on the western front of World War I between Switzerland and the English Channel. These are not small distances.
The area is garrisoned by a mixture of second-rate units, including National Guard, police units and second-rate regular troops. The Russians have not even bothered to dig a good network of fortifications during these months.
The surprise Ukrainian attack has caught Russian troops off guard, battered them at Schenchevkove (25 kilometers deep) and, as of September 8, threatened to penetrate as far as Kupiansk, the key logistical node for the more than 15,000 Russian troops leading the Donbas offensive from the north.
If Kupiansk falls and the Ukrainians keep up the pressure all along the Kharkov front, the Russians are going to be forced to effect a retreat across the Oksii River (without bridges) and in desperation, at the risk of being surrounded and without supplies.
Such a scenario will be the end of Vladimir Putin’s ambitions to conquer the Donbas.
Russian explanation of the counter-attack
Contrary to the Ukrainian version, the Kremlin maintains that the losses in enemy troops are heavy and the advance significantly less than Kiev claims, so Russia claims that the virulence of Ukraine’s so far successful counteroffensive in the east and south is because it needs to convince the United States and its allies that victory is possible and therefore to keep sending aid.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has criticized that Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky “is ready to do anything to retain military and financial aid from the United States and allies.”