Ukrainian soldiers in front of the sign for the key town of Kupyansk in the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine, September 9, 2022

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Friday’s Coverage: Zelenskiy — Counter-Offensives “Liberate 1,000 Square Kilometers” in South and Northeast

Source: Institute for the Study of War


Russian rockets on Kharkiv city killed at least one civilian and wounded two on Saturday.<

Several homes were damaged in the western suburb of Kholodnohirsk by a Russian multiple rocket launch system.


Ukraine forces inspect a Russian tank captured in the Kharkiv counter-offensive:


The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed the retreat of its forces from Izyum and Balakliia.

The Ministry said officials decided to “regroup the Russian troops stationed in the Balakliya and Izyum regions” so they could “step up efforts in Donetsk…[to] “achieve the stated goals of the special military operation” and “liberate” the Donbas region.

The Ministry insisted that the withdrawal was carefully designed with “distraction and demonstration events” to disguise the “real actions of the troops”.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces raise the national flag in Balakliia:


Vladimir Putin has not commented publicly on Ukraine’s rapid advance in the northeast.

Instead he has been featured voting online in local elections and congratulating Moscow residents on City Day: “Moscow is rightfully considered one of the most beautiful and comfortable cities in the world.”


Journalist Christo Grozev reports, “Now official, as even mainstream war correspondents announce through tear the surrender of Izyum and Kypyansk.”

He summarises the chatter on Russian Telegram channels:

“Izyum has been surrendered… and this sadly is not the end.”

Desperation steadily seeping in and replacing the “small setback but let’s not despair” mood of yesterday.


Reports are circulating, including on Russian Telegram channels, that Russia’s forces have fled Izyum, abandoning equipment.

Izyum is the launch site for Russia’s offensive in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.


The UN has found “torture and ill-treatment” of Ukrainian prisoners of war by Russian forces.

Matilda Bogner, the head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, said on Friday:

We have documented that prisoners of war in the power of the Russian Federation and held by the Russian Federation’s armed forces or by affiliated armed groups have suffered torture and ill-treatment.

Detainees have been deprived of adequate food, water, healthcare, and sanitation. In Olenivka — a prison where Russia and/or its proxies carried out an explosion killing 57 Ukrainians POWs — the prisoners were “suffering from infectious diseases, including hepatitis A and tuberculosis”.

While the UN team was granted “unimpeded access” to places of internment controlled by the Ukrainian Government, Russia “has not provided access to prisoners of war held on its territory or in territory under its occupation”.

Bogner said the UN has corroborated at least 5,767 civilian deaths and 8,292 civilians injured, but actual numbers are “likely considerably higher”.


The US-based Institute for the Study of War estimates that Ukrainian forces have reclaimed 2,500 square km (965 square miles) in the Kharkiv counter-offensive in the northeast.

On Thursday night, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy estimated the advance at 1,000 square km.

The ISW says Ukraine’s troop are on the southern approach to Kupyansk (see Original Entry) and “likely clearing pockets of disorganized Russian forces caught in the rapid Ukrainian advance to Kupyansk, Izyum, and the Oskil River”.

The analysts see the possibility of even greater gains:

Ukrainian forces may collapse Russian positions around Izyum if they sever Russian ground lines of communication north and south of Izyum….

If Ukrainians are successful in severing the Russian GLOCs, then they will have an opportunity to create a cauldron around Izyum and collapse a major portion of the Russian positions in northeastern Ukraine.

The ISW notes that while the Kremlin has been silent about Ukraine’s advance, Vladimir Putin convened a meeting with top Russian security and political officials on Friday.

UK military intelligence supports the assessment, estimating that Ukrainian troops have advanced 50 km (31 miles) along a narrow frontline.


Recognizing the significance of Turkish-made drones in Ukraine’s resistance and now counter-attack, President Voldoymyr Zelenskiy has presented the Order of Merit to Haluk Bayraktar, CEO of the Turkish company Baikar.

The Bayraktar TB2 drones have been credited with giving Ukraine a significant battlefield advantage. Russia has had to turn to Iran for UAVs in an attempt to counter Kyiv.

Zelenskiy said to Bayraktar in the ceremony: “Everyone in Ukraine knows what Bayraktar is, knows your company. Thank you, thank you to [Turkish] President Erdoğan for your support and the support of Turkish citizens in this war against Russian aggression.


European Union Finance Ministers have endorsed a €5bn ($5bn) loan for Ukraine to maintain public services including hospitals and schools.

The loan is part of a €9bn package announced in May. The first €1bn was sent in early August. Czech Finance Minister Zbynek Stanjura said upcoming meetings will decide how the other €3bn will be split into loans or grants.

Ministers also discussed the funding of Ukraine’s reconstruction in the long term.

Russia’s invasion caused almost $100 billion in damages through June 1, according to a report by the World Bank, the Ukrainian Government, and the European Commission. Reconstruction may cost almost $350 billion.


Ukraine’s Health Ministry says Russian attacks have destroyed 127 medical facilities and damaged 865 since the start of Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

The Ministry said 62 damaged facilities have been repaired.

Russian forces reportedly struck another hospital, in the Sumy region in northern Ukraine, on Friday.


Another video from the Ukrainian advance in the northeast — troops perform the national anthem before embarking on operations:


The International Atomic Energy Agency has reiterated its concern over a possible disaster at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine.

IAEA head Rafael Grossi said on Friday that a safety zone must be immediately established. He noted that, after recent shelling, there is minimal chance of re-establishing reliable offsite power lines to the plant.

Grossi echoed the statements of Ukrainian officials that they might shut down the only operating reactor among the six at the complex, Europe’s largest.

This is an unsustainable situation and is becoming increasingly precarious. Enerhodar [the town nearest the plant] has gone dark. The power plant has no offsite power. And we have seen that once infrastructure is repaired, it is damaged once again.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukrainian forces have advanced further in their four-day counter-offensive in the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine, capturing one key Russian position and approaching another.

After reclaiming Balakliia, Ukrainian troops reached the outskirts of Kupyansk on Friday. Both towns were hubs for Russia between Kharkiv and Izyum, the launching point for Russia’s offensive in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

In his nightly address to the nation, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the advance has liberated more than 30 settlements. His advisor Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted:

The Kremlin made no comment after Vladimir Putin proclaimed earlier this week at a conference, “We haven’t lost anything.”

However, other Russian sources confirmed Ukraine’s success. Russian proxy official Vitaly Ganchev spoke on State TV of the “very sharp and rapid” advance: “The very fact of a breach of our defences is already a substantial victory for the Ukrainian armed forces.” State media broadcast footage of purported reinforcements for the Kharkiv frontline, with columns of Russian tanks, support vehicles, and artillery travelling along paved roads and dirt tracks.

Ganchev implictly acknowledged the loss of Balakliia, “We do not control Balakliia. Attempts are being made to dislodge the Ukrainian forces, but there are fierce battles and our troops are being held back on the approaches.”

Video showed residents of the town enthusiastically welcoming Ukrainian soldiers, offering them food.

Proxy officials ordered the evacuation of residents from Kupyansk and, more significantly, from Izyum.

The Russian military tried to take revenge by firing rockets on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, which held out against occupation in the early phase of the invasion. At least 10 people were killed, including three children, in strikes on a children’s arts center, a school, and private homes.

A 62-year-old woman was killed overnight in further Russian shelling of the region.

Presidential Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak, wrote, “For every success of Ukraine’s armed forces, for every victory, Russians…answer with strikes on innocent people.”