On Saturday, Russia pulled back its forces from areas in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region as Kyiv made its first significant territorial gains in its counteroffensives.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced Saturday that troops that were stationed in areas around the cities of Balakleya and Izyum were “regrouping” toward Donestk in the Donbas region.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov tried to downplay Ukraine’s success and claimed that the “regrouping” was done to “achieve the declared goals of the special military operation for the liberation of Donbas.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky celebrated the battlefield success and said that Ukraine has captured 2,000sq km (770sq miles) of territory since launching the counteroffensive.
Russian-installed officials in the region advised civilians in the territory that Ukraine was retaking to evacuate and flee to Russia. Ukraine has been cracking down on what they say are Russian “collaborators” for things even as minimal as social media posts.
According to Al Jazeera, witnesses described seeing traffic jams of cars with people leaving Russian-held territory. The Russian news agency TASS reported that facilities have been set up in the Russian region of Belgorod, which borders Ukraine, to help refugees.
Ukraine’s success has spurred calls inside Russia for the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin to escalate and do what’s necessary to ensure victory in the war. Since launching his invasion, Putin has framed the war as “special military operation,” and has said that Russia has not “started anything yet in earnest” in its assault on Ukraine.
The success on the battlefield is a major propaganda victory for Ukraine, and officials in Kyiv are using it to push the West to send more weapons. Zelensky is set to appear virtually at a conference of US weapons makers on September 21, where he can appeal directly to the industry for more arms.
121 thoughts on “Russia Pulls Back from Areas in Kharkiv Region as Ukraine Makes Gains”
NATO has tens of thousands of troops of the front line, They are being paid US$20,000 a month with lots of heavy equipment, trillions are being spent.
Russia is grinding them down, slowly but surely. Even in New Zealand a defense forces person has died in the combat. In Ukraine World War 3 has started.
Russia has not yet committed most of their reserves, they are waiting for NATO to overreach in Ukraine. Russia is slowly bleeding out the Western powers in Ukraine.
where did you get this from?
NATO pretends NOT to be involved. USA∕NATO think that money and arms are all that matters to “win”.
But the comment said “troops” which means we are already into WWIII if this is true.
He gets his news from the Kremlin Ministry of Defense.
The same MoD that reported last month it had destroyed 44 HIMARS (not rockets) when Ukraine only has 16. It also reported having destroyed 3889 Tanks.
Ukraine barely had 1000 operational tanks.
Usually the Russian MOD briefings as quoted give numbers for “tanks and other armored vehicles.” That would include e.g. armored personnel carriers, of which the Ukrainians seemed to have a lot.
Not that the Russian MOD is any more a credible information source than its Ukrainian or US counterparts.
Doom gets his facts from the ET’s who beamed thousands of NATO troops down to the front lines from their UFO’s. Don’t get Doom pissed off or he might have his ET friends beam you up and you will wind up in an extraterrestrial menagerie.
This is a Russian fantasy, NATO really hasn’t shown up, which is why this war is still going on. You are loosing to the Ukrainians supported I will admit with effectively infinite weapons and infinite money by NATO. It is hopeless for Russia so long as there are Ukrainians willing to die for their country we will be sure they have really good weapons
Russia just hit the power grid in Ukraine, the now defunct rail line of NATO weapons and troops are being wiped out before they can enter the front line.
If you honestly believe that after 6 months all of a sudden Ukraine can defeat Russia you are on drugs. What has happened in Ukraine is huge, Russia withdrew because they assessed the situation as necessary to do so.
Yep the Lada came in second and the Corvette came in next to last. Look, if you believe what you are writing, be prepared to be disappointed your worldview is about to be altered.
You are delusional like the kremlin.
Russia would not give something up so easily. There is more to it than meets the eye. One step back, two steps forward is what I see.
Russia isn’t attempting to hold every foot of territory it has occupied in northeastern Ukraine. That would require much larger forces than it has deployed.
I don’t know what Russian commanders will do, now, about the “Izium salient,” but whatever it turns out to be probably won’t make much difference in the overall progress of this war.
Did you mean too many steps backwards and zero forward. You sound like Putin Generals trying to justify their failed tactics. Change your name.
Russia has lost the war. I really didn’t expect the Ukrainians to rout the Russians the way they did. But the key to victory in wars of national resistance is hearts and minds. The Ukrainians are motivated and they are prevailing.
In an asymmetric war of national resistance the invading power needs to conquer territory, destroy the resistance, pacify the conquered territory and withdraw before the invader’s population stops supporting the war. Even if the Ukrainian offensive had not gained an inch, the Ukrainians prevailed because they proved that they retain the capacity to resist the invasion. Just like the Vietnamese prevailed in the 1968 Tet offensive.
The problem with imperial powers is it takes a long time for them to realize they are defeated. Most of the carnage in the Vietnam war came after Nixon escalated because he couldn’t accept that the Tet offensive proved that the Vietnamese retained their will to resist. Like the Vietnamese, or the Afghans or the Iranians in their war against Iraq, the Ukrainians are proving that they are undefeated. I hope that Russia’s leaders come to realize that escalation will only prolong Russia’s inevitable defeat.
The Druran reports that the area wasn’t protected by regular Russian forces but by the Russian national guard. Ukraine has suffered horrendous casualties in this offensive.
My point is Ukraine has demonstrated that they are still fighting. The Tet offensive defeated the US in Vietnam. But the VC suffered tremendous casualties. The VC did not hold any captured territory. In every strategic sense the US and ARVN won except that the VC demonstrated that they were still able and willing to fight. In a war of national resistance that is how the weaker power defeats the stronger invader. It is about hearts and minds. But imperial powers never comprehend the dynamics of asymmetric warfare until it is too late. The Russians have lost. They will never be able to leave Donbas except in defeat. The only question is how long the war will go on before the Russians recognize they lost.
The war isn’t over, and “win” or “lose” is a matter of what the objectives are.
If the Russian objectives are (or have become) sane — securing/annexing LPR and DPR, and connecting them to Crimea — they can almost certainly still “win.”
If the Russian objectives really were, and remain, insane — “de-militarization and de-Nazification,” i.e. regime change — they almost certainly won’t “win.”
Ditto the Ukrainians. If they’re willing to settle for a line of control that leaves LPR/DPR to the Russians and connected to Crimea, they don’t have to “lose” any more than that. But they’re about as likely to get Crimea, LPR, and DPR back as I am to win the Irish Sweepstakes.
Don’t jump the gun on the apparent Ukrainian military successes around e.g. Kharkiv. They’re probably not as extensive as the Ukrainian propaganda would have us believe. They may be more extensive than the Russian propaganda admits … or the Russians may have been waiting for months for this, with plans to let the Ukrainians over-extend themselves and then bring the hammer down. The first casualty of war is the truth. It’s the truth on all sides, and it never recovers from its injuries until (if even then) the dust settles for good.
Agree. There is going to be a problem with the denazification. It is not insane. Our culture may have become insensitive as to what toxicity of Nazi ideology means, but we are not the whole world.
Nazi is what Nazi does. And Ukraine since 2014 has gone down that path, but Western cheerleading against anything Russian resulted in turning blind eye the inhumanity of it. This is slowly but surely turnung Western societies into supremacy enamoured narcissistic culture despite professed woke sensitivities. In fact, the reality of Ukrainian society has never been hoestly addressed from the perspective of ordinary humans.
Ukraine society cannot function for as long as one faction or the other believes that they can dominate others. And with this leadership as well as Western unconditional support — the malignancy remains.
It is too bad US chose to follow old European stupidities and hates. It is litterally antiamerican.
But we will pay the price. Why is the majority of the globe not supporting us, except under threat?
Because they know how supremacism looks like, snells like. They get it.
To the extent that “denazification” means anything at all, which isn’t much, it means “regime change.”
That’s not going to happen.
Zelenskyy and Co. might get replaced once the war is over a la Churchill, but they’re not going to get replaced by the Russian armed forces. And if they’re replaced, the replacements will be more “anti-Russian” than the current regime.
There is no plausible non-nuclear end to this war that doesn’t leave Ukraine a de facto NATO member state for the foreseeable future. And it’s unlikely that there’s anyone in a position of authority in the Russian armed forces or in the Kremlin who’s batshit insane enough to believe otherwise at this point.
Your assumptions make sense if you assume Ukraine is like US, a country that is a melting pot, having some difficulties living in harmony.
And if you add to this pleasing assumption the happy iidea that it is the Russian populace acting up , threatening the common otherwise happy state — what can be more natural than assume Russia’s fault all around.
But this is not a reality. Ukraine is geographically divided into three regions. East and South majority Russian, whuch includes cities like Karkiv and Odessa. Then in the Westt, right through regions of Zhitomir and Vinitsia there is Catholic populatiiin speaking a dialect of Polish, a Ruthenian, an extinguished language, And in the middle there are Christian Orthodox Ukrainians, speakers of Ukrainian that is a Rusdian dialect and majority speaking Russian at home.
The ratio between Catholic and Orthodox is 25% to 70% with other Orthodox and Moslem minorities the rest (Greeks, Georgian, Bulgarian, Moldivan, Romanian, etc. ).
Western Galucia should have never been included into Soviet Union, as they historically belonged to Poland or Austro-Hungary. This population fiercely supported Hitler, hoping for independence. Instead they ended up in Siviet Union.
Russians were forever their enemy as they crushed Reich and with it all their hopes.
During Cold War, the descendents of Nazis became fierce anti-communists and dissidents funded and lionized in the West.
No more disident cover story is needed now since they seized power in 2014. Zelenski is their frint man. They are now free to hate Russians, their Nazi roots now on full display. Details of their mis- rule are available for all to see, except for those who chose not to.
Today, Zelenski is using these Othodox Ukrainians as a cannon fodder, and the regime in Kiev has liost support from 75% of population.
You can say, so what. Who ever carefd about what majority thinks. But in Ukraine a day of reckining will come.
Russia does not need to do a thing. Zelenski regime will fall of its own, as fierce divisions within Kiev cannot be papered over.
Russia slowed to a crawl its operations more or less waiting for the regime to unravel.
The current suicidal mission to make a push and recover a 25 km wide and 80 km liong territory is what was needed to keep Kiev from imploding, It can try more of these at horrendous cost.
Yes, I see many other outcomes that do not involve nuclear weapons. Russia can recover this stretch or move in another direction. It hardly matters.
Ukraine is running out of manpower. What did Ukraine gain? In fact, once its forces came out in the open, they suffered heavy casualties, again.
What I predict is an internal split. Cannon fodder populace will find someone in Kiev circles to speak for them, The agressive West Ukrainian power circle in Kiev will push for even more such suicidal successes, and this could not be sustained,
You know that hard times are around when Zakarpathian soldiers (West Ukraine) were theown into unsuccessful Kherson offensive . There were riots there after casualties were revealed. Mayors were forced to declare day of mournung. Even in the most Russia hating regions — patience is running out,
There is nothing NATO can do with a failed state. NATO can train and equip, but cannot establish a foothold
in a thoroughly polarized country.
Rule by fear was possible after 2014, as in peace time population overlooked the attrocities against Russians. Looked the other way.
But now, they are all cannon fodder to a regime that will continue throwing population iinto guaranteed death, with no plan to end the war.
At some point, Kiev will be unable to control the country.
It may be NATO Afghanistan all over again, with a well trained military by US forces. and the apoearance of stability. Until the show in Kabul fell apart overnight.
In Ukraine NATO can count on 25% popular loyalty. Russia can easy get loyalty of 65%. And that number is likely to grow over time, as Kiev agggresuve recruitment methodoligy make people flee to Russian occupied side. Thise caught face drakonian punishment.
I do not see a quick or easy solutiin. NATO optimism is extraordinary.
If the ethnic Russians don’t like being in the Ukraine they should move to Russia, otherwise learn to get along. The Ugandan ambassador to the UN early on gave a nice speech about how all of Africa had messed up borders drawn in Europe and ignoring on the ground African realities of tribe/language/religion … you name it. So the solution was either endless war, or learning to get along with each other inside you assigned country.
Ethnic cleansing and genocide is your solution? Ukraine already tried that, it lead to 2 defeats and Minsk1 and Minsk2 surrenders.
Not at all, they can stay in Ukraine if they like. I don’t think they should take up arms against the Ukrainian government, after that frankly what do they expect?
You are so young you did not remember 2014???
The Ukrainian Banderites attempted to murder them all right after they overthrew the government in a coup.
The ethnic cleansing campaigns were a total failure and Ukraine surrendered twice, The Nazi’s had to genocide the Donbass because they held the balance of power.
Well I don’t really believe you but it looks like third times the charm
Its no coincidence that Zelenski hinted at nuclear weapons all of a sudden. My guess is that Russia withdrawl has something to do with his comments. Someone is lining up a nuke to go off in Ukraine?
Excellent assessment of the most likely scenario under the circumstances.
Yeah, the “most likely scenario,” Make stuff up.
Headline: Ukraine is regaining territory.
Ukraine haters: Bring back the Nazi BS line.
The Nazi claim never went away. Just in your mind. Just like NATO expansion or wars games on Russia’s borders didn’t really happen in your mind. Just Putin paranoia.
Just Putin’s paranoia. Your favorite thug. Thanks for agreeing.
Notice how you always come in support of pro Putin lovers but then claim you are not.
Because we all love Putin and get paid by our masters in the Kremlin to argue with you.
I’m not “supporting” anyone just because I have the same opinion as them. You’re clueless. I don’t like Putin any more than you do. I continue to say the same thing over and over enough to make myself sick. RUSSIA has security concerns that need addressing just like they did before they invaded. If they aren’t addressed, Russia isn’t going anywhere. I don’t like that, but it’s fact.
A story the MSM refuses to put on the front page. I believe 43 persons were incinerated that night.
I think you have your cart and horse mixed up. They took up arms after the Kiev nazis attacked them.
Arrogant ignorance. “Ethnic” Russian is non-existent. Russian-speakers live in Ukraine (and vice versa) and there is a lot of inter-marriage. They also live in other “european nations” and have some rights, unlike Ze’s Ukraine.
MSM has not pointed out the actions by Z. Totally fascist.
Ethnic Russians need to get along with the people bombing and slaughtering them? How do you propose they do that?
They have been.
My only “assumption” is that Russia’s political and military leaders are neither morons nor in the grips of a collective schizophrenic episode of complete dissociation from reality.
If my “assumption” is correct, then they know now — if they didn’t at the start — that they won’t be “de-militarizing” and “de-Nazifying” Ukraine, and that the only approximation of “victory” they can plausibly hope for is to hold on to LPR, DPR, and a land corridor connecting LPR/DPR to Crimea.
It may be that my “assumption” is incorrect and that the Kremlin and MOD are completely under the control of babbling idiots. But I hope not.
Are you Russian or Ukrainian? I don’t know how correct your political analysis of the SMO is but you seem to be the best informed commenter. The only thing I would add is see if your browser has a spell checker. Mine does so it seems like I can spell.
These are remarkable insights!
There are so many things wrong with your write up that I don’t know where to begin to react. But I will pick couple:
1. Ukraine is not a failed state. Find the definition of a failed state. In fact, the United Nations doesn’t even use that term anymore and instead, they use the Fragile State Index (FSI). Ukraine FSI is 68.6 in the annual report while Russia’s FSI is 72.6 (higher). So go back and read more about that since Russia is clser to a failed state than Ukraine. https://fragilestatesindex.org/
2. Cannon fodders? the country showing zero care for its troops is Russia who has been sending conscripts and all kinds of able bodies (including elders) to the front lines poorly trained and equipped. Even sending prisoners and young folks from poor villages from Siberia.
3. Ukraine is majority Ukrainians all over. Having 40-50% Russians in certain regions doesn’t make that a Russian Majority.
4. Thanks to Putin, Ukraine is now more united than ever and I doubt that will change.
Our country is NOT a melting pot.
wow. utter delusion.
Let’s see how much it cost to “win” the counter-offensive operations undertaken so far. The numbers of KIA and wounded that I’m hearing are very high. His history of sacrificing soldiers to win or hold land will eventually catch up with him among his own people.
When Russia says Disarm and denazification that is exactly what they mean. Ukraine is a Nazi state supported by western powers. Im not talking neo Nazi white supremacists, im talking the real thing, referencing Stepan Bandera and the ethnic cleansing campaigns of WW2. An ethnically pure Europe is the goal.
The Nazi are back in Europe and this time the western powers are fighting shoulder to shoulder with them.
Agree, and Russia isn’t fighting Ukraine it’s fighting Washington and it’s NAZI myrmidons in Ukraine in another war of ideological aggression; and at that, with one arm behind its back, because, half the Ukrainian population is ethnic Russian, and half its conscripts are fighting only under threat.
I am hardly insensitive to the evils of Nazism. I confronted Nazis in the street and a friend of mine became partially paralyzed in the Greensboro massacre. But Putin doesn’t care about deNazification or he would have eliminated the Wagner Group instead of using them as mercenaries in Ukraine.
DeNazification is only euphenism for regime change in Ukraine. In fact, Putin’s invasion has many parallels to Hitler’s invasion of Poland on the pretext that Poles were persecuting Germans and that France, UK and Poland were surrounding and planning to dismember Germany.
But here, folks have made up their minds and conveniently adopted the Russian Nazi BS narrative. Tell them Russia has exponentially more Neo Nazi groups within and they’ll give you a BS lecture on Bandera.
We have been taken over by Christian fascists. They are embedded in the CIA, our armed forces, politicians.
Agree. Russia has been forced to rethink its strategy. But it’s far too early to proclaim that Russia lost the war.
With all of the excitement in the area around Kharkiv, it would be easy to overlook the fact that Ukraine lost 20% of its total electrical power today. Russia began shutting down Zaporizhzhia. If they move the fuel, it may never restart.
Whether or not Ukrainians gain territory or hold territory they gained or suffered Pyrrhic loses to gain a little ground is irrelevant. The fact that the Ukrainians are still fighting means that the Russians can’t withdraw in the foreseeable future. If the Russians don’t withdraw or if Putin calls a general mobilization, the war will become unsustainable politically.
The only way to break the Ukrainian resistance is to use the kind of terror tactics the US and UK used against Germany and Japan. But if Putin does that he will engender an antiwar movement and energize an opposition that will threaten his regime. Putin is trapped by the law of blow back. The consequences of escalation outweigh the benefits.
According to other sites, Russian citizens are more in tune what the West has been doing for 30 years.
And Ukrainians are more in tune with what Russia has been doing for the past 750 years.
It doesn’t matter who wins on the battlefield. As long as there is a battlefield or a Ukrainian resistance movement, the Russians have lost. Eventually Russian citizens will come to understand just as Americans understood that the US lost in Vietnam. It will take time. Maybe years, maybe decades, maybe generations. The Irish resistance took centuries. But in the end the Russians will leave Ukraine in defeat.
“But they’re about as likely to get Crimea, LPR, and DPR back as I am to win the Irish Sweepstakes.”
While I agree with you partially, I wouldn’t bet my house on this statement.
And I don’t believe the Russian abandoned this territory as part of a more sophisticated plan. The soldiers aren’t retreating, they are on the run leaving weapons and equipment behind. No Army fights and takes heavy losses to take and keep large amount of terrain only to pull back and return with a ‘mastermind’ plan.
Unless they are planning to drop a Tac Nuke or conduct carpet bombing, they will have to fight their way back and take heavy losses.
“The soldiers aren’t retreating, they are on the run leaving weapons and equipment behind.”
That is one characterization I’ve heard, but I have no way of knowing whether it’s true or false.
There’s nothing unusual about retreat to lure an opponent into over-extending himself. It’s happened many times from the small unit level to the army level. I’m not saying this is that. I’m content to wait and see what happens rather than trying to predict what will happen.
Many reports are that the retreating Russian troops were lightly armed police units doing occupation duties.
Such troops would not have large numbers of tanks to leave behind. They could scram rather quickly.
They seem to have done so.
A weak line that fades back without resisting has sometimes meant a defeat, but it has also very often been a warning sign of the coming counter blow from the flanks. That has been well documented since Hannibal defeated the Romans that way at Cannae, and remains a favorite move.
I just pray that this results in a peace treaty (like the one the UK scuttled in April) before winter and Europe gets the gas turned back on before the cold sets in
I doubt there will be any peace treaty.
My guess is that what Putin thinks he needs is to have LPR, DPR, and a land corridor connecting them to Crimea secure enough against internal revolt that he doesn’t get badly embarrassed after declaring victory and unilaterally announcing a fortified line of control encompassing those gains.
If he can get that, there will likely be desultory mutual shelling across that line of control for the foreseeable future, but he can say he got what he came for and is keeping it, and while the Kyiv regime will blow a lot of smoke, the rest of the country will presumably be tired enough of this stuff to not be interested in continued all-out war to take it back.
That might be good enough to let him delay his … retirement. And it might be enough to speed up Zelenskyy’s.
I don’t think there’s going to be much desultory shelling across the DMZ because the Russian counter fire isn’t going to be desultory, they’re going to blow the bejesus out of anything firing across the line, and if that doesn’t get the message across they’ll interdict further in and then go to strategic bombing if necessary. They need to let the locals on both sides know who’s in charge, and besides which they’re not the messing around sort.
Hardliners in Russia wanted “shock and awe”, complete destruction. The Putin administration did not want that, opting for a lesser war with a lesser objective.
My fear is that the hardliners will take over, press for the complete destruction of Ukraine, attack the lines bring the weapons into Ukraine, etc.
Russia is also averse to having their soldiers chewed up for an objective that is not important. It is also well to remember that Russia is not battling Ukraine, it is battling the West which has fed Ukraine with weapons since 2014, knowing full well that things may lead to this.
Russia could get very snarly. Soon. I see a bigger war coming.
Russia has already won. The aggressors against them will pay over and over, oil and gas prices, inflation, fracturing alliances, lives and suffering. Ukraine makes a good US puppet, but they can’t endure years of this, and the west won’t hemmorage money and arms that long. Russia will bury the Ukrainians who don’t wisen up.
Yep, the Kremlin is celebrating. Lol.
Check Brian Berletic (new atlas) or even “Big Serge” for interesting perpective.
Uh-oh. Flying Ukrainian Hypersonic Pigs are shooting the Russian Air Force out of the sky! No doubt Vladimir is shivering with fear in his bunker!
I think one huge factor was not emphasized enough–the river. The Russians mistakenly thought the river was a geographic barrier and reduced their defense behind the river. The Ukrainians crossed the river without bridges–surprise! Always good to remember, “Some locals hate you.” But as important, locals know their country and hate you. The Russians realized the river is no barrier and the Ukrainians can now attack from everywhere. Withdrawal without battle was one of the most difficult decisions but intelligent to prevent losses. It’s a political nightmare because they have to suffer the bragging of the west for the rest of times, especially the British. It’s a nightmare for the civilians who remain. The most important question is what happens next? …I have no idea. More killing and destruction perhaps? I would prefer negotiations, but not hopeful anyone would follow peace agreements.
Interesting point about the river and the locals. If Russia truly had popular support the pro-Russian locals would have tipped the Russian military about the river. Asymmetric wars of national resistance are determined by hearts and minds, not force of arms. In the early stages of the war I paid attention to look for signs of where the hearts and minds are. If the Ukrainians are still fighting after six months and the Russians can’t get reliable intelligence from local supporters, it is pretty clear who will win.
At this point it is up to the Ukrainians to determine whether negotiations are appropriate or premature.
Don’t get lost in your fantasies, folks. The chances that the Russian command “mistakenly thought the river was a geographic barrier” are slim and none. To imagine that could be the case is to demonstrate that you have no idea about today’s Stavka or the the simplest basics of military tactics. Every junior officer and senior NCO in every competent military on the planet understands these things.
As for the speculation about the sympathies of the locals . . . I think you may be telling yourself stories you want to believe, on the basis of nothing more than your imagination.
I don’t know if the Russians’ misunderstood the difficulty of crossing the river. The fact is that the Kharkiv front was far too fragmented. The Russians would have had to exceed the scope of the SMO and pull in more troops from Russia to defend a front that’s more than 1,000 km in length. Since they wanted to stay within the limits of the SMO, the only option was to pull back behind the Oskil River which is very hard to cross in Winter and which can be defended with limited troops.
“”Ukraine has captured 2,000sq km (770sq miles) of territory since launching the counteroffensive””
so ukraine has captured territory that is already considered to be ukraine ?
that doesn’t really sound like they are winning very much.
i think that the real question should be; did russia actually find and eliminate bioweapons labs operated by uncle sam in the ukraine?
Zelensky’s surge is going to be a turkey shoot.
You are right, way more Russians are going to die.
You need to save these up for Taiwan.
Reports suggest that the Russians started to evacuate the civilian population before the Ukrainian offensive even started. Ukrainian forces were able to advance rapidly because the Russians had planned to retreat in order to consolidate the front line.
The Russians faced the choice of substantially increasing their troops in Ukraine or of shortening the front line. They opted for the latter so as not to escalate.
After the offensive in the South and the North, the real offensive will come in the Donbass. That’s were the Russians are moving their troops to in order to reinforce the DPR and LPR militias. According to the Military Summary Channel, the Ukrainians have started de-mining operations in the Donbass to launch there offensive on the DPR.
The Russians knocked out Ukrainian power stations in the East to prevent Ukraine from reinforcing its troops in the Donbass by train. After shelling the nuclear power plant for a months, the Ukrainians are hardly able to complain about their electric grid being knocked out. So far, the Russians haven’t knocked out civilian infrastructure like the Americans did in Serbia or Iraq, but they are undoubtedly able to do so in case of an escalation.
The alleged success of the Ukrainian offensive is a propaganda victory that may encourage the West/Ukraine to escalate by sending even more weapons. That would in turn force the Russians to escalate. We are in an escalation spiral with incalculable consequences.
This is Ukraine’s Battle of the Bulge and it will shorten the war. Whatever strategic initiative Ukraine had is now spent. The Russian response, with the fall wind behind it, will be decisive.
This is Ukraine’s Tet offensive that already ended the war even if it takes the Russians years to realize that they have been defeated by a weaker power in an asymmetric war of national resistance. In the end the Russians will have to leave in defeat.
That’s the other way to look at it, except this is a conventional war with a front line and I don’t think the analogy holds up. The Russians will consolidate Russian speaking areas, establish a DMZ, and hit whatever shoots across it. US Sanctions will work when Siberia is depleted.
This is a war of national resistance. It is only still a conventional war because of the ineptitude of the Russian military and the zealousness of the Ukrainian defenders. Even if the Russians overcome the Ukrainian military, they will be bogged down in an endless guerrilla war of attrition until they leave. I never expected the Ukrainian conventional military to last more than a few weeks. But I knew that Putin was a Russian chauvinist who was blind to the potential of the Ukrainian resistance based on the pent up fury of a people who resented their oppression by governments in Moscow for centuries. Asymmetric wars of national resistance are determined by hearts and minds, not force of arms.
Unfortunately double alpha male types that rise to leadership in imperial states can never grasp that until it is too late.
Not going to google “double alpha males” and I don’t know what Putin’s multiplier would be but your analysis is flawed. Ukraine is not Vietnam and the ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine are not the VC. Eastern Ukraine was in fact part of Russia since before the US was the US and the people there overwhelmingly support incorporation into Russia. Russia will win the conventional war against Ukraine and then there will be some amount of guerilla/terrorist activity in the former eastern Ukraine and the Russians will crush it like they did in eastern Europe after WW II and in Chechnya. I’ll grant you’ve read a bit of history. Read some more.
Ukraine was never part of Russia. After it was conquered by the Czars and their Cossack functionaries, Catherine the Great and her successors unsuccessfully attempted to forcibly assimilate Ukraine. To Russian chauvinists, Ukraine is “Little Russia.”
But I agree that the historic relationship between Ukraine and Russia is more like the relationship between Ireland and England than the USA and South Vietnam. Nonetheless, the analogy to the Tet offensive is appropriate. And I like the image of Putin opening a Ferris wheel while his troops were bleeding and fleeing in Kharkiv. Reminiscent of George Bush continuing to read fairy tales to kindergarten Kids after his aids told him the Twin Towers were burning.
Bush Jr. is to Putin as the Ukrainian offensive is to the Tet offensive. Knowing enough history to draw an analogy doesn’t make it valid. Donbass and Crimea are historically part of Russia and were administratively ceded to Ukraine by Khrushchev. The populations speak Russian, are now de facto Russians, and would in fact be targeted by the Ukrainian government. Donbass and Crimea aren’t South Vietnam, Putin is smart, and Bush Jr. is a nitwit. And BTW if you want to find out about hearts and minds I suggest watching the documentary of that name, especially if you don’t think your opinion of the Vietnam war could get any lower.
Real estate, in war, is only significant to the degree the ground is important to destroying enemy forces.
That will just cause Russia to escalate and more lives will be lost, if this is really true. You can’t believe either side, especially the swill-propaganda spewed out of the US MSM daily.
Russia is not going to lose.
The only question is how far the escalation spiral will go before Russia feels safe from NATO aggression.
Always blame NATO. Never Russia.
Russia will lose but Putin Lovers will never accepted.
Reality lovers are not popular right now. Fantasy rules.
You, along with the rest of humanity, should be fervently hoping that Russia isn’t pushed to the point of fearing a serious defeat, Don. You should pray every day, to the gods of your choice, for that not to happen.
This ain’t no football or online role-playing game.
I don’t have gods and I won’t just cheer Russia and let Russia does whatever it wants only cause they have Nukes. They can go F themselves if they try something stupid. But you go ahead and continue your support for emperor Putin, the same guy that if “pushed” (i.e Ukraine invades Russia?), would use Nukes against humanity because no one else is talking Nukes. That’s the guy you cheer for here.
That is absolutely true. We don’t have to like Putin, but the fact remains that Russia does not only defend its own essential security interests in Ukraine but also world peace. The US’s attempt to reduce the geographical buffer between the nuclear powers by moving US missiles closer to Russia’s border increases the probability of a nuclear war to the point where it’ll have to happen sooner or later.
The primarily problem in this world is US imperialism. Since Hiroshima, the US is playing Russian roulette with the future of mankind.
Installing nuclear-capable missiles near Russia’s border reduces the pre-warning time to less than 5 minutes. Non of us would be alive if that had been the case during the cold war when we had a couple of very narrow escapes.
“Russia Pulls Back from Areas in Kharkiv Region as Ukraine Makes Gains”
Payback is a mother and her name is Russian Army. Last night Russia struck power plants in Eastern Ukraine shutting down the grid and effectively ending rail transportation.
Ukraine now cannot redeploy forces for attacks or even resupply their army. Good luck to you Voldamort Zelensky your days are numbered!
Perhaps now Joey Biden will stop molesting American taxpayers and send cash and weapons to the most evil corrupt criminal regime in Europe.
Over the past few days, Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in Kherson, territory about which Russia cares greatly, which was promptly crushed. Western media either ignored or downplayed that news.
Subsequently, Ukraine made a rapid advance in Kharkov oblast, at a place in the front that has been thinly defended by LDPR militias and Rosgvardia units (an internal security force not trained or equipped to fight professional armies). There were almost no regular Russian troops among the defenders. Western and Ukrainian media have gone into a frenzy of excitement and analysts and observers are falling all over themselves and each other, leaping to unfounded conclusions.
Deep breaths and patient observation are called for.
You must be heart broken. Look at you, already giving excuses. But don’t write off Kherson yet, that one is work in progress for the Ukrainians. The HIMARS HIMARS HIMARS of @Javy Lopez are still out there.
You could probably learn to tell the difference between “excuses” and simple descriptions of reality, if you weren’t so attached to your personal version of “reality.”
While you’re here, why don’t you share with us your view of the work that you think is in progress around Kherson?
Wait and see for yourself. But caution, you won’t like the results and may be forced to provide more BS “descriptions of reality.”
“Territorial gains” are mostly meaningless in this war. What matters is how many Ukrainian soldiers died doing their meaningless “advance” against zero Russian resistance? The Russians abandoned an area that wasn’t doing them any good in the war in an orderly withdrawal. The Ukrainians advanced and took villages no longer defended while inflicting massive casualties (estimates up to four thousand or more) on Ukrainian forces from air power and long-range artillery. The Russians are now ensconced on the eastern side of the Ostil River reportedly.
In short, the Ukrainians have exposed a major concentration of their forces, estimated to be between 15,000 and 30,000, with HIMARS and other NATO-supplied weapons. The Russians will bring in reinforcements and once Donbass is cleared will return and clean out those Ukrainian forces, all the while bombing the crap out of with air and missile strikes.
In short, absolutely nothing has changed. The Ukrainians have gained a PR victory, nothing more. As Brain Berletic titled his recent video analysis of this, “Wining Headlines Today, Hastening Defeat Tomorrow.”
Only idiots interpret this in any other way. Andrei Martyanov, The Saker and Brian Berletic appear to be the only ones who haven’t fallen for this nonsense. I suggest anyone interested visit their sites and get real analysis rather than the armchair strategists and random military fanboys.
Thanks for the Nice Maps Dave…!
“Andrei Martyanov provides a must-listen assessment of l’affaire Kharkiv. Don’t be put off by his dismissiveness (although I agree it puts a lot of noise in his signal).
Andrei makes many important points, particularly on the poor quality of Telegram commentary and the map-reading efforts (he has a takedown of Rybar, generally well regarded in the Russia-favoring community, in a related post). Andrei finds only three commentators to be reliable: Graham Phillips, Eva Bartlett and one Russian commentator whose name I can’t hear well enough to render (at 18:55).
Andrei points out that the area had already been significantly depopulated, with only 1/3 to 1/4 of the earlier residents remaining, and that Russia had already evacuated many of the friendlies (and per TASS, apparently made a last run at it on September 8). Andrei argued that the Russians didn’t see much upside in fighting to hold territory when the people left weren’t on your side.
He also mentions the horrific casualties, a point I mentioned yesterday morning in comments, before hearing Andrei’s remarks:
So everyone is freaking out over the map. All the talk is fixated on that.
What is being ignored is the body count.
The MoD, as quoted in various sources yesterday, said:
The RF Armed Forces destroyed more than 2,000 Ukrainian and foreign fighters, as well as over 100 pieces of armored vehicles and artillery in three days.
This was quoted after the end of day Saturday in Russia. But not sure when MoD gave the account.
If the MoD figures are accurate, and most commentators have taken the MoD as accurate or at least not very exaggerated, they killed 2,000 men by at the latest end of day Sat, more likely earlier that day or end of Friday. That implies another 6,000 wounded.
That is out of 9,000 to 15,000 troops. 15,000 is the highest number I have heard attributed to the Ukraine side. So more than half taken out in at most three days.
If this is true, the misreporting/cognitive capture is massive. This “counteroffensive” will have been a worse slaughter than Kherson, but since Russia has not yet moved its troops in to retake ground, and instead is taking them out largely from the air (not the normal Russian order of battle, BTW) this will be the biggest PR headfake in a very long time.
The reason this is not implausible is Big Serge indirectly confirmed that Ukraine was taking a beating in his account, citing a Ukraine reporter:
“There is heavy fighting near Kupyansk, worse than Balakleysky. We are taking heavy losses. The enemy is transferring a bunch of reserves by air. The “Wagnerites” have already arrived in the city itself. The sky is filled with aircraft. Hearing about all this, a haunting feeling of an ambush arises in the soul. What if this all really turns out to be a strategic level ambush?”
The Ministry of Defense reported another 450 total killed in the Kharkiv region in its Sunday report. That would bring the total of dead and wounded, assuming the usual 1:3 ratio, to 10,000 (although between Kharkiv and Kherson, from September 6 to 10, the MoD is reporting a total of over 4,000 eliminated and 8,000 wounded; perhaps they are being conservative on wounded?). Andrei claims that the MoD estimates for Kharkiv are low and insinuates he has some reports from the field.
I have heard second hand that there are higher estimates for Ukraine forces committed to Kharkiv, now more like 30,000. Even so, the loss rate is awful and the fighting isn’t over. And was this increase planned or were reinforcements sent in?” https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/09/fog-of-war-military-and-economic.html
~Plutarch, quoting Pyrrhuss of Epirus
Comments are closed.