With the successful operation in Kharkiv, Ukraine turns the tide of the war

With the successful operation in Kharkiv, Ukraine turns the tide of the war
With the successful operation in Kharkiv, Ukraine turns the tide of the war

There is no such thing as a miracle in war. Yet what happened in early September in the eastern part of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region may go down in history as the Miracle of the Oskil River.

In just a few days, with precise strikes, the Ukrainian troops caused the collapse of the Russian front in the region. To avoid a crushing defeat, Kremlin forces were forced to withdraw chaotically from territory they had controlled since March.

However, Ukraine’s offensive operation achieved much more than liberating most of the Kharkiv region and bringing Ukrainian units closer to the Russian border. It exceeded even the most optimistic expectations and practically disorganized one of the strongest Russian military groups and made it unfit for further combat.

The battle was a brilliant operational success and

will inevitably have long-lasting consequences for Russia

The loss of the Kupyansk and Izyum transport hubs reduces Russia’s chances of conquering the entire eastern Donbas region, consisting of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. The collapse also threatened Russian defenses in the northern part of the Donetsk region, paving the way for further successful attacks by Ukrainian forces in the east.

Thus began the third phase of the war. According to analysts, Ukraine has turned the tide of the war in its favor, while Russia’s power is likely to continue to decline in the coming months.

In this case, surprise played a huge role. As everyone’s attention was focused on a possible Ukrainian counterstrike in Kherson Oblast, the blitz in Kharkiv Oblast was unexpected.

At the end of August, when the Ukrainian army finally began its offensive operation in the south, 25-30 Russian battalion tactical groups stood in its way. The Russian forces redeployed to the Kherson region included the most effective airborne units in Russia. Since Russia does not have enough quality military units to hold the 1,000-kilometer front line in Ukraine, these units were transferred from other front areas in the Kherson region.

The Ukrainian army convinced the Russian command that Kherson would be the main and possibly the only axis of the counteroffensive. In fact, most analysts doubted that Ukraine had sufficient weapons and equipment to mount a successful major strike on one front, let alone two or more. Ukraine has performed well in this disinformation battle, as

fool your opponent about planned maneuvers

and forces. Thus, at the decisive moment, many of the best Russian fighting formations found themselves isolated in Kherson, where all the bridges over the Dnieper River were destroyed. This means that there is no way for Russian forces to withdraw, and there will be a drastic reduction in reinforcements and supplies, as they have to be pontooned across the Dnieper.

Then something happened that few expected. On September 6, Ukrainian forces launched a swift raid on Balakleya, a town with a pre-war population of 27,000 that Russian forces had occupied since early March. Balakleya is one of the transport hubs in the Kharkiv region and one of the largest Russian arms depots is located there. Verbovka, a village north of Balakleia, was liberated by Ukrainian units in a few hours. The Ukrainians surrounded the cities, leaving the Russian garrisons cut off from their main forces.

Ukrainian troops then moved towards Volokhov Yar, a village about 15 kilometers northeast of Balakleia, and the villages of Kune and Vesolae, 30 kilometers southeast, taking control of local roads and intersections. Highly mobile Ukrainian intelligence units moved quickly ahead of the main Ukrainian forces in Russian-controlled territory, using light vehicles such as US-provided Humvees. Periodically they clashed with Russian forces, causing chaos and fooling them into thinking they were being attacked from all directions. In many places the Russians offered no resistance at all.

The very next day, fighters from the Rosgvarda and special police units, deprived of heavy weapons, escaped from Balakleia.

The successful offensive continued with the liberation of another key crossroads – the town of Shevchenkovo, to reach the biggest “prize” – the town of Kupyansk.

Kupyansk, a major railway junction, was the center of the land line of communication between the territory of Russia and the occupied Donbass. Taking the city would derail Russian supplies in the most critical frontline sector.

Contrary to expectations, Russian forces put up little resistance and Ukrainian troops managed to break through at Sinkovo, south of Kupyansk.

So for a few days

the Russian front line in Kharkiv region simply collapsed.

Taken by surprise, the Russian command had no choice but to order its combat units to withdraw. Russian soldiers abandoned a huge amount of equipment and ammunition as they fled under heavy Ukrainian fire.

Early on September 9, Ukrainian forces entered Kupyansk.

Although this was the most ambitious planned goal of the operation,

Russia’s rapid collapse opened up new opportunities.

Two additional Ukrainian strikes from the north and south targeted the city of Izyum, the most populous Russian-held town in the region. To escape the encirclement, about 10,000 Russian troops in Izyum were forced to leave the city on the night of September 10.

Within days, Russia lost its main pressure point in the Slavyansk-Kramatorsk region of Donetsk Oblast. A possible Russian advance south of Izyum could cut off all of Donbas from the rest of Ukraine and trap the largest Ukrainian military group in a death trap.

Without this critical axis, it is highly likely that Russia will lose its only realistic opportunity to capture the rest of the Donetsk region, which the Kremlin has repeatedly stated as its primary objective in Ukraine. Russian forces have captured all of Luhansk Oblast, but are struggling to occupy all of Donetsk Oblast, about half of which is still under Ukrainian control. The progress of the Russians in other directions in the Donetsk region – around the cities of Bakhmut and Donetsk – is too slow and is at the cost of many casualties and destroyed equipment.

The collapse of the Kupyansk-Izyum line caused Russia to immediately withdraw from most of Kharkiv Oblast. Ukraine has regained control over almost the entire border with Russia in the area and about 6,000 square kilometers of occupied territory.

This is the most significant Ukrainian victory since the battle for Kyiv in April.

As of September 12, the Ukrainian operation has slowed down, possibly due to the need to consolidate the liberated areas and rest the troops. The new front line stabilized along the Oskil River, with Russia still holding the eastern bank.

However, Ukraine continues to be active in the northern part of the Donetsk region. Taking advantage of the Russian defeat at Izyum, Ukrainian forces began a battle for the occupied city of Liman and recaptured Svyatogorsk.

In the Kharkiv region, Russia made a fatal mistake – it “slept through” the build-up of Ukrainian forces and did not provide adequate reinforcements to counter the rapid Ukrainian advance. Russia left the front line loose as it concentrated its forces to counter the Ukrainian advance in the south. According to Russian military bloggers, local Russian units were often manned to no more than 50%, and in some cases as little as 20%, of their standard personnel.

And Ukrainian forces took advantage of this.

The quick Ukrainian maneuvers

put Russian forces under serious threat of isolation

According to the Conflict Intelligence Team, a Russian online investigative group, two major Russian formations in the area – the 11th Army Corps and the elite 1st Guards Tank Army – were disorganized and ineffective after the battle. According to the British Ministry of Defence, the 1st Guards Tank Army suffered heavy losses even before Ukraine’s advance on Kharkiv and has not fully recovered. “Heavily degraded, 1st Guards and other formations of Russia’s Western Military District are being withdrawn from Ukraine, so Russia’s conventional forces designed to counter NATO are severely weakened and it will take years for Russia to restore their combat capability,” wrote the British ministry on September 13.

“Ukraine turned the tide of the war in its favor. Kyiv is likely to increasingly dictate the location and nature of major battles, and Russia will respond increasingly inadequately to growing Ukrainian military and psychological pressure unless Moscow finds some way to regain the initiative,” the American Institute for the Study of War believes ( ISW).

Analysts believe that the Ukrainian pressure in Kherson region, combined with the rapid counteroffensive in Kharkiv region, presents Russian forces with a dire dilemma. “Russia probably does not have enough reserve forces to complete the formation of a new defensive line along the Oskil River… It would be prudent for Russia to withdraw forces from other sectors of the battlefield to establish defensive lines east of the Oskil River to ensure that he can hold the border of Luhansk region,” they write.

However, the Kremlin continues its own

pointless, failed attacks near Bakhmut and Donetsk,

refusing to redeploy these forces to mitigate a possible new Ukrainian advance across the Oskil River or the Kherson. Russia cannot afford to weaken Kherson’s defenses in order to strengthen its positions on the Oskil River. “Russian President Vladimir Putin risks making a common but deadly mistake by waiting too long to send reinforcements to Luhansk. The Ukrainian campaign appears to be aimed at putting Putin in just such a dilemma and benefiting from almost every decision he makes,” according to ISW.

The catastrophic defeat of the Kharkov front led to a sharp change in the tone of Russian propagandists

The article is in bulgaria

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