On the ground, both sides nibbled on the edges. Russia made some gains south of Izyum, but were repulsed at Pashkove—the last town before reaching a critical line supplying Ukrainian forces in this entire front. And if you’re wondering, “why is there a functional rail line still supplying Ukrainian forces well within reach of Russian artillery?,” well then, you’re not alone. Russia has clearly prioritized war crime’ing over actually trying to win a war.
Down south, Ukraine pushed toward Kherson, and is just a few miles outside of Kherson city itself.
In addition to threatening Kherson on the eve of its sham “referendum,” taking the city would cut off the mass of Russian forces threatening Kryvyi Rih to its north. While strategically unimportant, Kryvyi Rih happens to be Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown, and did we mention that Russia doesn’t seem to be trying to win the war? Massacring civilians and pushing to the gates of Kryvyi Rih have zero to little military purpose.
Note, some late-night reports claimed Russia had retaken Oleksandrivka, which is west of Kherson, at the base of that little red “up” arrow in the map above. Except … there’s another Oleksandrivka north of Kherson, on the approach to Kryvyi Rih. It would make more sense if it was the top one, and everyone is certainly confused (as I write this, Monday night). Regardless, I’ve talked of the tug-of-war nature of this front, where wide open and exposed terrain allows artillery to shred infantry. This is where those American M113 armored personnel carriers are most desperately needed. Whichever Oleksandrivka Russia’s took, expect Ukraine to retake in the days ahead. Then lather, rinse, repeat. This isn’t just a tug of war, it’s a tug of war in mud, where no one can get a proper footing.
Now let’s take a trip down memory lane, when Russian forces spread themselves out among too many axes, diluting their effectiveness? Remember?
Also, remember when Russia was going to learn from their early failures, and concentrate their efforts in a single axis to conquer the entire Donbas region in a massive offensive? Remember? Seems like just yesterday!
Right now, Russia is attempting to advance toward:
- Kryvyi Rih
- South, east, west, and northwest of Izyum (seriously)
- Pushing out from Donetsk
Russia never learns. Russia will never learn. And sure, they grind out a kilometer here or there, but their losses are unsustainable. Ukraine can well afford to give up land for blood, as their reserves (300,000 strong) continue to train and equip out west, and entire new armor, infantry, and artillery battalions are formed with all the great gear streaming in from the West.
Speaking of that, the United States made their new weekly aid announcement:
The $165 million will buy Soviet-era munitions from eastern European countries (and maybe others) on Ukraine’s behalf, so Ukraine is getting nearly half a billion in new weapons and ammunition this week. The U.S. also graduated the first cohort training on American howitzers, and the U.S. is expanding the training program to train more Ukrainians on western systems. Note, they aren’t teaching Ukrainians from scratch how to be artillerymen, but training experienced Ukrainian artillerymen on using a new howitzer. Our gear has longer range and is more accurate than the stuff they’re using now, and Ukraine has already been amazing on their older Soviet-era gear.
Russia is clearly frustrated having its soldiers chewed up by Western weapons and munitions, and the howitzers and suicide drones will only add to the carnage in the coming weeks and months. So, once again, Russia issued the typical lame threats.
There was even a sternly worded letter!
- Of course military equipment in Ukraine is a “legitimate target.” Nothing has changed from the first day of the war. Note that not now, and not ever, has Russia argued that those arms shipments are legitimate targets outside of Ukraine.
- Are we going to pretend that Russia cares about whether a target is legitimate or not? As mentioned above, they’ve been more interested in war crime’ing than trying to actually win this war.
Russia can pout all it wants. It’s actually a pathetic look. Lavrov even complained about NATO countries “shipping weapons and basically advertising their efforts in this area.” It’s true, the United States and Britain have been particularly vocal in rubbing Russia’s nose in all that sweet, sweet military gear for Ukraine. Yet the last two months have shown how impotent those threats have become. Where once it set the world on edge, now they’re shrugged off. If anything, Russia seems less intent on expanding the war, not more.
p.s. Russia did hit some rail targets yesterday. But the fact that there’s a rail system operational at all at this point of the war shows how little Russia has prioritized taking out Ukrainian logistics.
If you’ve been looking at maps of Ukraine for the last two months, you might have noticed that, down in the southwest corner of the nation, beyond the city of Odesa, is a little section of land connected to the rest of Ukraine only by a bridge and a narrow road that cuts across a very narrow set of levees. That area is the Budjak, part of an area known historically as Bessarabia, which has passed around among various nations before landing with Ukraine.
The area has a lot of coastline on the Black Sea, but it’s relatively sparsely populated. Even so, it’s extremely cosmopolitan, as it’s history of being passed around has resulted in a very diverse population.
On Tuesday, Russia targeted the bridge to the Budjak with a cruise missile, largely cutting it off from the rest of Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin seems to make the same claims about Ukraine as Ron DeSantis has about Disney.
The UK Ministry of Defense is voicing the same concern that their Ukrainian counterpart has been expressing for a week.
On Tuesday, there seems to have been several small villages captured by Russia. While the larger town of Kreminna has actually been occupied by Russia since Saturday, they have continue to press toward Oskil, located at the northern edge of Ukrainian held territory east of Izyum. Russian forces reported entered the town of Yatskivka on Tuesday, as well as pressing south of Izyum into the villages of Dibrovne and Kurulka.
However, for the moment at least, Russia doesn’t seem to be pressing down the main route of the M03 highway south of Izyum, but is instead proceeding along a number of much smaller, narrower roads. If Russia can push Ukrainian forces from the town of Oskil, it could open more lines of supply to their Izyum salient.
At the same time, the combat to the east near Rubizhne and the city of Severodonetsk is reportedly fierce in both directions.
As of Tuesday morning, these are the numbers reported by Ukrainian authorities. As usual, expect these numbers to shade north of reality — especially in the area of aircraft taken out.
However, with Oryx now listing over 3,200 systems verified destroyed through images and video, including 562 tanks and 1031 APCs (including IFVs and AFVs), the other numbers presented by the Ukraine MOD may be quite close to Russia’s real losses.
Russia has hit the city of Lviv, nearby bases, and training facilities with several precision-guided missiles, even though that city is just a mile from the Polish border. However, there’s another location that Russia has, so far, not dared to go after.