Ukraine is making progress in Kherson and – surprisingly – in Kharkiv

Kyiv, Ukraine – Lenin can’t sleep at night after what he saw in the Rostov morgue. He told his friend that the bodies of those killed in Ukraine were “swimming in a cauldron of formalin”. He said that in order to make a positive identification, you have to catch it with a stick. The unknown requires DNA tests. In short, Lenin said, “I am panicking.”

Lenin is the pseudonym of an unnamed Russian soldier but his horrific experience recounted by a confidant in a phone call made on September 5 that was intercepted by a Western intelligence agency.

Yahoo News was unable to independently verify the identity of the speakers or the cause of the massacre described. But the tale tracks what Russian soldiers and their increasingly miserable supporters have been saying for days on social media. The Ukrainian attacks are manifold, first around Russian-occupied Kherson and now, somewhat unexpectedly, around Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, inflicting great damage on the Russian army.

A Kherson resident salutes a Ukrainian soldier, July 25 (Ivan Chernichkin/Zaborona/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)

Videos showing alleged Russian prisoners of war – the last one being a colonel – flooded Telegram channels. Although Kyiv imposed a media blackout on Kherson at the start of its campaign last week, the government has confirmed the restoration of large square miles of terrain.

On September 7, Ukraine’s Southern Operations Command announced that it had captured several settlements, as well as two villages captured three days earlier. The blue and gold standard has been raised on rooftops across the region. Online trackers cited a slight increase in Russian equipment losses, sharing several videos showing the victorious Ukrainian forces with the spoils of war left by the Russians.

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It is noteworthy that the Ukrainian fleet of Turkish UAV Bayraktar TB-2 is now Hitting opportunity targets along the frontlineThey are no longer intended for larger quarries such as command and control centers, air defense systems, and logistics vehicles. The Ukrainians are also using new teams equipped with NATO weapons, most notably Polish T-72M tanks and a variety of Western armored personnel carriers. These were the divisions I watched the training on this equipment, recently arrived in the countryin the previous months.

The speed with which Ukrainian forces appear to be making progress has impressed Western observers. But the real surprise is that they also launched a simultaneous attack hundreds of miles to the north at Kharkiv, near the eastern border with Russia. The city, one of Ukraine’s largest, has been under constant bombardment since Russia launched its invasion in February.

Following the Russian missile attack on the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine

The aftermath of a Russian missile attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, September 7 (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Igor Girkin, an officer of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and former commander of Russian proxy forces in the occupied Donetsk province, posted on the social networking site Telegram that Russian forces were surrounded in Balaklia, a city in Kharkiv. region. Girkin indirectly praised the “outstanding audacity” of the Ukrainian attacks for their speed and aggression. Girkin also expressed dissatisfaction with the poor training of the Russian National Guard, and the “cautiousness” of the Russian Air Force in refraining from retaliatory strikes.

It seems that at least one detachment of the Russian National Guard managed to corner themselves in the encirclement of Balaklia. And on Wednesday gray areaThe Telegram channel, operated by the Russian mercenary group Wagner, reported that Russian units were leaving Balaklia. “It is likely that the city will be surrendered.”

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It also appears that the Ukrainians are besieging the Russians in the south.

All transportation of the Russians across the Dnipro River has now been destroyed or rendered impassable for motorized traffic. Antonovsky road bridge that was bombed by high mobility artillery systems supplied from the United States (himars) for weeks, off commission. Road bridge over the Nova Kakhovka Dam in Kherson It appears to have collapsed, judging from the satellite footage. Several other smaller crossings, including Both a road and a pontoon bridge over the Inhulets tributary in Darivka . were destroyed. The collective influence cuts the Russian-controlled area on the western bank of the Dnipro River almost in half.

Pressure to regain control of Kherson and its regional capital, the first large population center captured by Russia at the start of the invasion in late February, was sent by Ukrainian officials for several months.

Ukrainian artillery

Ukrainian artillerymen on the front line in Kherson, 15 July. (Metin Aktas / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Kherson is located at the mouth of the Dnipro River and serves as a major administrative and transportation center. For the Russians, it’s the area just north of Crimea, so losing it gives Ukraine a closer place to launch attacks on the peninsula that the Kremlin has occupied since 2014. Russia has made plans for a “referendum” to essentially annex Kherson, as it did Crimea. These plans are now “paused”, according to to TASS.

Moscow’s ultimate goal in southern Ukraine has long been the creation of a strategic land corridor, stretching east from Crimea to mainland Russia, and west through Odessa, reaching the Russian-backed unrecognized region. The breakaway state of Transnistria. This would have resulted in Ukraine’s coastal lack, eliminating the economic prospects for a country that relies heavily on maritime exports.

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The drumbeat of Kherson appears to have been as much an informational operation as an anticipation of an upcoming military operation. Russia forced the transfer of tactical battalion groups from other fronts to fortify its defenses, placing it on the battlefield where the Ukrainians felt more confident in the fight. This maneuver also helps put into account the attacks on Russia’s Saki Air Base in Crimea last month.

The destruction of more than half of the Black Sea Fleet Naval Air Force, according to a Western intelligence official, prompted the Russians to withdraw their planes away from Kherson, which undoubtedly contributed to the principled position that Girkin hinted at.

Igor Strelkov, also known as Igor Girkin

Igor Strelkov, aka Igor Girkin, the supreme military commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, at a press conference in Donetsk in 2014 (Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images)

in new article On the strategic prospects for Ukraine for 2023, General Valery Zalogny, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and Lieutenant-General Mikhailo Zabrodsky, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence of the Ukrainian Parliament, acknowledged that “a series of successful missile strikes” were used against the Saki air base. This may indicate that Ukraine already possesses previously undeclared long-range munitions capable of striking deep into enemy territory.

So far, the Ukrainian losses on the Southern Front do not seem to have been overwhelming, According to The Economist,, who visited hospitals in Odessa and Mykolaiv, northwest of Kherson. A doctor working in the main emergency unit interviewed by the outlet said an average of 15 to 30 soldiers come every day. “More than usual, but not our worst nightmare.”

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