The counter-offensive in the Donetsk region continues to advance, HIMARS has run out of rubber
As Kos reported earlier, Ukrainian forces began withdrawing from Severodonetsk on Thursday evening and on Saturday all but a handful of troops were reported to have crossed the river at Lysyschansk. The last report still mentioned Ukrainian forces in the suburb of Borivske, but one can expect – or at least hope – that this force will be reduced.
South of Lysychansk, the Russian forces would have moved to the edges of the city, but they will have to fight uphill through close buildings if they are to continue in that direction. To the west of the city, Russian forces would have entered the area of the Verkhnokamyanka power plant. It would be a threat to power in Lysytchansk… except he’s already out. The small pocket that extended to Zolote a week ago is now extinct.
In the southwest, Ukraine made an unexpected advance on a broad front, liberating a whole cluster of villages in the Donetsk region.
I violated my own usual map coloring rules by leaving the whole area ahead as if in dispute, but wanted to show how much of the property was sliced up in just two days. The top of this yellow area is where Russian control was on Thursday. Then came reports that Ukraine had pushed to the highway that runs from Zolta Nyva to Pavlivka. On Friday, the advance continued towards three other villages 10 km further south. It is unclear if this is continuing at this time, but there have been no reports of serious Russian resistance.
Why Ukraine is pushing in this area is unclear. The closest position is still 75 km from Mariupol, so this would not currently appear to be a threat to Russia’s “land bridge” between Donbass and Crimea. It may simply be for Ukraine to stay aware of areas where Russia has withdrawn troops to support the effort near Severodonetsk. If Ukraine can capture these areas with few casualties and without adding troops to the area…why not?
Just three weeks ago, reports indicated that Russia was planning an advance in this same area, but this was followed by reports that some of the forces in this area had been withdrawn by Ukrainian forces pressing towards Kherson . Ukraine may be engaged in a strategy of stinging Russia in one place, seizing territory that is opening up, stinging again elsewhere, and so on.
In the Kherson region, most activity reports on Saturday are from the northern end of the battle line. Ukraine has been pushing for some time to capture Vysokopillya, where Russia is believed to have stored supplies and which had been their staging point for northward attacks.
On Friday and Saturday, Ukraine fought against two towns in the immediate vicinity of Vysokopillya. Russian forces reportedly fled the town of Olhyne after a Ukrainian bombardment, and in the village of Arkhanhel’s’ke, which Russia reportedly used as Ukraine Command HQ… well, that’s it.
The Ukrainian army released an image of the city …
And a video of Ukrainian forces at work on Russian HQ.
Pushing back at this end of the line may not be as sexy as reports that Ukrainian troops are about to stroll through Kherson, but they are important in reducing the damage in Kryvyi Rih, which has done the object of repeated artillery attacks. Vysokopillya would now appear to be hanging out there in an extremely vulnerable position.
Further south, there have been no recent signs of activity from the bridgehead south of Davydiv Brid, and numerous reports have now speculated that Russian forces have eliminated the force on the east bank of the Inhulets river. However, there has been no confirmation of Russian recapture of villages that were liberated by Ukrainian forces, so it seems too early to make the call.
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