If a (Ukrainian counterattack) storm is in the cards sometime in the next month, this is the calm before it. If Ukraine still doesn't have the ability to engage in a major combined arms operation, then it’s just … the calm. Here, thanks to Def Mon’s new interactive map, are Russia’s operations yesterday in the Donbas, the only place anyone tried to move at all.
Russia made some half-hearted probes south of Izyum, but the fight has gone out of them in a location where Ukraine has made gains in recent weeks. Russia took Lysychansk July 3, yet hasn't budged much since then, still trying to reach Sivers’k around 30 kilometers to the west. (We know how much Russia struggles anytime it stretches 25 kilometers past its supply hubs.)
Russia’s main efforts have focused on Bakhmut, particularly south of it, even gaining a few hundred meters or so the past few weeks! It’s actually pretty sad that the supposedly mighty Russian army is working so hard to capture this town with so little strategic value.
Remember, Russia only advances when their artillery degrades Ukrainian positions to the point that they must be abandoned. That’s what every arrow on the map above shows: Russian artillery works over a spot on the map, then Russian and Donbas proxy cannon fodder marches forward to see if any Ukrainian defensive positions remain. Most of the time the answer is yes, dozens of Russians and their proxies needlessly die, and the entire cycle repeats. And unlike the battles of Mariupol, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, now that Russia is attacking Ukrainian positions with ample artillery support, that cannon fodder often can’t even get close enough to Ukrainian defensive positions to see if anything remains. Here is Ukraine taking out an infantry column trying to advance south of Izyum (explicit video).
That makes it tough for Russia to advance, for sure. But Ukraine doesn’t fare much better. Hence the currently frozen lines. Not that Ukraine is sitting by idly—it is still working on shaping the battlefield for future actions. HIMARS rocket artillery continues to hit Russian ammunition depots, further slowing down a spasming Russian war effort.
This one, well behind enemy lines, was something else:
Ukraine keeps hitting deeper and deeper into Russian-occupied territory with its mystery long-range weapon:
No pictures yet, as I write this Monday night. Sevastopol, of course, is the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet on the southern tip of the Crimean peninsula.
What does all this do? It reduces the amount of supplies for Russia’s armies at the front, it pushes back weapons depots further and further back from the front lines, further stretching those tenuous supply lines (and we know how poorly Russia does logistics), and it inflicts psychological damage to a demoralized Russian army. Meanwhile, the Antonovsky bridge connecting Kherson to Crimea continues to get pounded.
While no collapse has been confirmed, the story about an “ammunition trucks” crossing the bridge was confirmed by the local police authorities. That means the bridge had been repaired to a state of use. Ukraine waited for ammo trucks to start crossing before hitting it again. Clever. And shows that Ukraine’s surveillance capabilities are top-notch.
With Ukraine systematically reducing Russia’s ability to resupply its forces in the Kherson area, any potential future offensive would become much easier. It’s difficult to overcome well-dug defensive emplacements (just ask Russia). It’s easier if those defenders don’t have the food, water, fuel, spare parts, tools, and ammo necessary to put up a fight.
Russia seems to be recognizing the futility of continuing the war at this time:
Another presidential advisor, Oleksiy Arestovych, has been saying this for weeks, that Russian diplomates are waging a diplomatic offensive in Western capitals pitching exactly this—stop military support for Ukraine, and push a premature cease fire freezing the current front lines until next time Russia decides to gobble up more territory. In return, Western Europe gets gas this winter.
If Ukraine moves on Kherson the next few weeks, the calculation will be as much political as military, perhaps significantly more. Winter is coming, and if Europe is successful in forcing a cease fire, Ukraine needs to claw back as much of its territory as possible.
We need your help to write 10,000,000 letters to infrequent but Democratic-leaning prospective voters in key congressional districts and Senate swing states this election, urging them to exercise their right to vote. Sign up with Vote Forward and join the most popular and effective Get Out the Vote (GOTV) activity in Daily Kos history.
Tuesday, Aug 23, 2022 · 3:26:58 PM +00:00
So I guess Russia is going to start blaming climate change next?
To be clear, that’s an ammo dump in Russia, near the Ukrainian border, just randomly deciding to blow up. Because it is hot.
Comments are closed on this story.