Ukraine celebrates ‘success’ of counterattack; Russia retaliates | Russia–Ukraine War

Russian forces lost territory on all fronts in the 28th week of war as a counter-offensive stretched from the southern Kherson region to the country’s eastern and northern fronts, demonstrating the continued capability of the to take the initiative.

North Ukrainian forces launched a new counterattack in the northern Kharkiv region on 6 September.

Despite the radio silence of the country’s political and military leaders in Kyiv, Ukrainian and Russian military bloggers reported heavy fighting in Verbivka and Balakliia, 70 km (44 miles) southeast of the city of Kharkiv, which the Ukraine resumed in early May.

Ukrainian forces appear to have recovered Verbivka, where they posted geotagged images showing dead Russian soldiers.

Rybar was one of several Russian military bloggers to report continued fighting around Balakliia on the evening of September 6, but by early September 7 he reported that the town had been completely surrounded.

“[Balakliia] is within the operational encirclement and within the firing range of the Ukrainian artillery. All inputs are muted by [enemy] fire,” he wrote.

Russian journalists also said Moscow forces blew up bridges over the Balakleyka and Krainya Balakleyka rivers to prevent the Ukrainians from advancing further.

Unconfirmed reports indicate the attack triggered a collapse of the Russian front, which was weakened last month to redeploy forces south.

The offensive seems to have resulted in a bloodbath for the Russian army.

Ukraine reported 460 enemy dead, an extraordinary toll for one day.

The offensive came a day after Ukrainian forces destroyed a Russian ammunition depot in Balakliia, in a repeat of the corrosion tactic used in the south.

Eastern Ukrainian troops kept up the pressure in the Donetsk region, recapturing Ozerne on September 4, thereby gaining a foothold on the occupied northern bank of the Siversky Donets River.

Ukrainian News24 and MilitaryLand published footage showing the servicemen crossing the Siversky Donets river house after completing the mission, and geotagged photographs confirmed their success.

Ukrainian troops maintained the eastern offensive on September 6. Denis Pushilin, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, said Russian forces were defending Kodema in Donetsk.

Ukraine celebrates, Russia steps up attacks

During the second week of their southern counteroffensive, Ukrainian forces appeared to retake Vysokopillia in the Kherson region on 4 September.

There was no official marching band, but servicemen posted videos of captured Russian armor on social media as they greeted locals.

Eventually, Zelenskyy’s office released a photo of Ukrainian soldiers raising their flag over the city. Battles had been raging there since Ukraine launched its counter-offensive on August 29.

The Ukrainian leader indirectly confirmed gains in the east and south on September 5, hailing battlefield successes and referring to two liberated settlements in Kherson and one in Donetsk.

Geotagged images confirmed that Ukrainian forces also recaptured Olhyne and Novovosnesenke.

Zelenskyy predicted that Crimea, south of Kherson, seized by Russia in 2014, would also be recaptured.

“I believe that the Ukrainian flag and free life will return to Crimea,” he said in an overnight video address, reiterating Ukraine’s goal of returning to pre-2014 borders. see that the occupiers have already begun to flee Crimea. It’s the right choice for all of them.

Despite the loss of equipment and ammunition during the weeks of precision attacks that preceded the counteroffensive, the Russian forces fought back.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Russian forces foiled an overnight attempt on September 2-3 to land 250 Ukrainian special forces troops on 42 boats at Enerhodar. , near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, on the other side of the river.

He said they planned to take over the factory. Published footage showed dead bodies floating in the shallow waters of the river.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said his forces shot down 190 Ukrainian drones and intercepted 226 HIMARS rockets in total. If true, it suggests that Russia still has the ability to blunt two of Ukraine’s most effective weapons in its continued counteroffensive.

A Ukrainian special force officer told Al Jazeera that the capture of the city of Kherson itself would take “several months at least” and would require more Western military aid.

US General Mark Hertling called the Ukrainian strategy of attacking the western Kherson region a “brilliant move” because Russian forces there had their backs to the Dnieper and it was possible to smother their lines of communication.

“Poor [Russian] leadership pushed many [battalion tactical groups] above [Dnieper River] because Putin wanted Kherson City, [Mykolaiv], and finally Odessa. But on the M14 there are only 2 bridges on the [Dnieper]. Destroy those bridges…and logistics and a trapped force become a RU problem,” he wrote.

Ukrainian attacks continued to hamper Russian supply routes to the west bank of the Dnieper, where the counter-offensive is taking place. They hit the Antonivsky Bridge with artillery rockets and continued to push the offensive. Geotagged footage from September 5 showed Ukrainian troops fighting near Kostromka and Bezimenne in the Kherson region.

Hertling said there was ‘potential for a lot of Russian prisoners’, an important asset for Ukraine, which is trying to secure exchanges for some 2,000 military personnel it has ordered to the factory from Azovstal to Mariupol.

Drink the Kool-Aid?

Typically, Russia officially called the Ukrainian counteroffensive a failure, saying it had inflicted heavy casualties.

But new research suggests such Kremlin narratives may be losing potency.

Maxim Alyukov, a postdoctoral researcher at the King’s Russia Institute, conducted a quantitative study of Russian TV and social media coverage of the war to find that the number of TV stories about Ukraine has halved from February and March.

Russian television officials are reintroducing shows that had been canceled to allow time for war propaganda.

Alyukov told Al Jazeera: “It’s back to normal – back to a pre-war style of reporting, with a balance between propaganda and entertainment…because if you lose [viewers]you lose control of it.

Alyukov also found that mention of a key Russian justification for the war – to “denazify” Ukraine – fell sixfold on television.

“They almost gave up on that idea,” he said.

“[The Kremlin] used four very specific ideas to justify the invasion: denazification, demilitarization, protection of the population of Donbass and the expansion of NATO,” Alyukov said.

“They all fit into the whole idea of ​​fighting the West and restoring Russia to greatness…but the idea of ​​denazification is something that people have a hard time understanding.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grip on social media is deteriorating even further. Despite being banned as a term for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the word ‘war’ is used on social media almost four times more often than on TV, including by supporters government, Alyukov noted.

It may not help Putin that the propagandists made some obvious mistakes.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said Russia claims to have destroyed Leopard 2 tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles, equipment Ukraine has yet to receive.

But Russian leaders insisted on their tactics. Addressing young diplomats on September 1, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it was the West that had started the war against Russia “shamelessly, openly, crudely and aggressively”.

As for Putin, he committed 50,000 troops, 60 warships and 140 aircraft to the Vostok 2022 war games with China, perhaps to deny reports that it lacks arms and men.

A US intelligence report revealed it was buying millions of artillery shells from North Korea, suggesting sanctions could already be causing supply chain problems.

According to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Russia lost more than 50,000 men, 2,097 tanks, 4,520 armored personnel carriers, 1,194 artillery systems and 445 planes and helicopters.

Leave a Comment