September 9, 2022
The situation on the front is changing so fast, it’s hard to keep track.
Briefly, South of Kharkiv, ZSU took Balakleya and Shevchenko, has continued its headlong advance toward Kupyansk and is now on the outskirts of this key transport hub. The city is now threatened by encirclement and the Russians are pulling equipment and ammo from it. The reinforcements from Belgorod Oblast haven’t quite made it yet, and it looks like VSRF doesn’t really expect to hold it. Mobilized ORDLO soldiers and Rossgvardiya are refusing to fight and leaving their posts in large numbers. ZSU operations in the rear are disrupting communications, and there is total chaos in the Russian side, which is preventing them from coordinating their units.
ZSU has now blocked Izyum as well, threatening the entire army group in Kharkiv Oblast (about 20,000-strong). Panic is seeping through the pro-Russian Telegram channels, which are still our only sources of information since the Ukrainians are maintaining a total media blackout.
The Russian attacks on Avdeevka and Bakhmut continue, but so far without success. They have sent reinforcements there.
In Kherson Oblast, ZSU has enlarged its bridgehead at Davydiv Brid. The Russians said they expect to be able to hold them away from the Dnieper River. However, the 20th motorized Division guarding the approach to Chornobaivka suddenly left its positions at Kiselevka without warning the neighboring units, whose commanders are fuming. The Ukrainians didn’t initially realize what had happened and were cautiously probing the defenses but are now on the march. Nobody knows why the division has fallen back to the Dnipro and Russian ofiicers claim that the move was not authorized. VSRF are evacuating equipment from Chornobaivka.
Unless the Russians can somehow seize the initiative, they will have to fall back East, leaving Kupyansk and Izyum to the Ukrainians, which in turn would imperil all operations in Donbas. If the chaos and panic continue, the army grouping on the right bank of the Dnipro River will also be in danger of encirclment.
I can’t recall an advance in a major modern war of the scale and speed that the ZSU is currently making.