Ukrainian troops inspect a Russian tank captured in Ukraine’s counter-offensive in the Kharkiv region in the northeast, September 10, 2022

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Saturday’s Coverage: Kyiv’s Forces Advance Further in Northeast

Source: Institute for the Study of War


Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, has confirmed that more than 3,000 square km (1,158 square miles) of territory has been recovered in counter-offensives in the northeast and south.

He said that “there are 50 kilometers to go to the state border” with Russia.

Russia continues to retaliate with shelling of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, killing one person and injuring four. Five other civilians were wounded across the region.


Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin’s leader in Chechnya, has posted a bizarre statement about the situation in northeast Ukraine.

Kadyrov said, “If there is no change in the special military operation today or tomorrow, I will have to go out to the leadership of the country to explain to them the situation on the ground.”

However, far from explaining defeat, Kadyrov said he will be illuminating that the situation is “awesome”.

There are several pluses in giving them several villages and towns. We did not advertise it, but we had a special mission.

As well as revealing Russia’s secret success in the northeast, Kadyrov proclaimed victory is forthcoming in the south: “in the near future we will reach Odesa”.


Having declared on Wednesday, “We have not lost anything,” Vladimir Putin still has not commented on Ukraine’s advance in the northeast.

On Saturday, Russian State outlets featured him 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.”

At a park in Moscow, he presided over the grand opening of a Ferris wheel: “It’s very important for people to be able to relax with friends and family.

A Russian blogger was not impressed, and his post soon went viral: “You’re throwing a billion-ruble party. What is wrong with you? Not at the time of such a horrible failure.”


There are reports that the Ukraine counter-offensive has moved from the northeast to the east, regaining a foothold in the Luhansk region.

Russian forces completed the occupation of Luhansk in early July with the capture of the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk.

However, on Saturday Russian sources reported withdrawal of their forces from Bilohorivka. Ukraine’s Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said Ukrainian forces reached the outskirts of Lysychansk.


The latest Russian attacks across the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine have killed 10 civilians and injured 19.

Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said there were four victims in Pokrovsk, three in Krasnohorivka, two in Bakhmut, and one in Raihorodok.

In the south, Russian shelling injured nine civilians in Mykolaiv and four in Dnipro, damaging administrative buildings, commercial infrastructure, and residential areas.


The Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine has fully ceased operations.

Ukrainian staff had kept one of six reactors online at the plant, the largest in Europe, amid recurrent shelling and Russia’s conversion of the complex to a military base.

But the shelling halted power supply to the remaining reactors, forcing brief stoppages, before Sunday’s announcement by Ukraine state operator Energoatom.

The agency said the last reactor was disconnected from the national grid at 3:41 am and “preparations are underway for its cooling and transfer to a cold state”.

Ukrainian officials called on residents of Russian-occupied areas around the plant, including the town of Enerhodar, to evacuate.

On Friday, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, called for a safety zone to be immediately established.

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

Russia has rejected the calls of the IAEA and UN to demilitarize the plant.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Russia is facing the defeat of its invasion in northeast Ukraine, following the sudden collapse of its frontlines amid a Ukrainian counter-offensive.

On Saturday, the fifth day of the Ukrainian advance in the Kharkiv region, Russian forces fled from a series of important positions. Ukraine’s troops regained Lupyansk, a key railway hub, in the morning. An even bigger victory followed in the afternoon: the liberation of Izyum, the staging point for Russia’s offensive in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

There were reports that Lyman, another notable railway junction east of Kharkiv, was taken by the Ukrainians. However, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that the city “is still waiting for our flag, and this is inevitable – Ukraine always returns”.

By evening, the villages of Vasylenkovo and Artemivka had been freed. Not only Ukrainians but also military analysts were looking at a push all the way to the border, near the Russian city of Belgorod as Russia’s proxy officials announced the evacuation of occupied Vovchansk on the Ukrainian side.

The US-based Institute for the Study of War noted that Ukrainian forces reportedly captured Velikiy Burluk, within 15 kilometers (9 miles) of the border. The analysts added:

Ukrainian forces have penetrated Russian lines to a depth of up to 70 kilometers in some places and captured over 3,000 square km (1,158 square miles) of territory in the past five days since September 6 – more territory than Russian forces have captured in all their operations since April.

The scale of the victory was accentuated by its speed. Only on Thursday, Russian outlets were reassuring that Izyum was secure and would be bolstered by reinforcements.

The Russian Ministry of Defense put out the cover story that officials had 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.

But the pretext could not hide Ukraine’s liberation of one-third of the Kharkiv region, retaking most of the area seized by the Russians in March, in less than 96 hours.

The Institute for the Study of War drily noted, “The Russian MoD falsely claimed that Russian forces undertook a number of demonstrative actions and used artillery and aviation to ensure the safety of withdrawing Russian forces. These Russian statements have no relation to the situation on the ground.”

Russian officials spoke of people fleeing to Russia. Andrey Turchak, secretary of the United Russia General Council, said a line of several hundred cars were lined up on the border.

In his nightly address to the nation, Zelenskiy said:

These days, the Russian army is showing its best — showing its back. And, in the end, it is a good choice for them to run away. There is and will be no place for the occupiers in Ukraine.

Putin’s 2nd Failure

The sudden Ukrainian surge is the second major defeat for Vladimir Putin’s February 24 invasion. In April, having failed to capture the capital Kyiv and topple the Zelenskiy Government, Russian forces withdrew from northern Ukraine.

Russia then concentrated on the conquest of the port city of Mariupol in the south and the offensive to claim all of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the east.

Mariupol finally fell in late May after 12 weeks of deadly siege and attacks, and the invaders were able to take almost all of the Luhansk region by early July.

However, the Russians and their proxies struggled to make any gains in Donetsk and faced local resistance and Ukrainian partisans in the south.

Last month, Ukrainian air and ground forces — bolstered by advanced weapons from Western countries — began eroding the Russian military with a series of strikes on bases, bridges, logistical positions, and ammunition depots in the south and in Crimea, occupied by Russia in 2014.

These paved the way for the launch of Ukraine’s counter-offensive — an operation which not only took territory but also was a vital deception for the dramatic success in the northeast.

A Vital Deception

“[It] was a big special disinformation operation,” Taras Berezovets, a former national security advisor who is now press officer for Ukraine’s special forces, said on Saturday.

Russia thought [the key counter-offensive] would be in the south and moved their equipment. Then, instead of the south, the offensive happened where they least expected, and this caused them to panic and flee.

Ukraine’s military command announced the operations in the southern region of Kherson on August 29. At the same time, officials — including President Volodymyr Zelenskiy — commanded observers to maintain secrecy, elevating the significance of the assault.

The capture of villages, along with the high-profile strikes on bridges and ammunition depots, grabbed the attention not only of the international media but also of the Kremlin and its military. They redeployed troops and equipment from the northeast and the Donbas offensive in the east.

Meanwhile, “[our] guys in Kharkiv were given the best of western weapons, mostly American,” Berezovets said.

Informants in Ukrainian-controlled parts of Kharkiv were rounded up to prevent any tip-offs to the Russians, while Ukraine’s forces assessed information from residents in Russian-occupied areas.

Serhiy Kuzan of the Ukrainian Security and Cooperation Center summarized the outcome:

We are actually surprised by how poorly the Russians have retreated.

Retreat is part of the art of war. When we retreated, we made sure they suffered losses as they advanced and we did to so to ensure that they only advanced 1, 2, 3 kilometers.

They were so confident that they didn’t prepare their defenses. This has shown that the only advantage they have is in the number of artillery pieces and heavy equipment. So all we need is the same amount.