The intention this morning was a “what’s happening everywhere else” update, but it’s hard to get away from Kherson. This is true both because everyone knows that active fighting is going on in the region, and because Ukraine has very carefully practiced operational security, deliberately not exulting over liberated villages. However, there were some points of news on Friday evening – including the Ukrainian General Staff – that seem to warrant coverage.
The first is viscopilia. It is a town on the northwestern edge of Russian-controlled territory (pre-invasion population about 4,000) that has long represented Russia’s most secure, fortified positions in the region. Reports that Russian forces in Vysokopylya were under attack by Ukrainian forces go back to May, and for more than a month it appeared that Russian forces inside the town were isolated as Ukraine moved around. had liberated the villages and cut Vasokopilya off from resupply or reinforcements. .
On Friday, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry issued a statement saying that Ukrainian forces had “established conditions in the town” and that Russia no longer controlled Vysokopilya. Moreover, some pictures and footages have emerged from the area which clarify the situation as of Friday. One of these is a video of a warehouse being shelled in the middle of a series of warehouses, light factories and agricultural buildings, allegedly representing one of Russia’s last strongholds in Vysokopilya.
Looking at a map, reports that Russia is limited to the “southern edge” of town, down to a few buildings at the very end.
The image above is Visokopilya. That red circle represents the area where any remaining Russian forces appear isolated. This seems like a reversal-in-a-million from the kind of situation we’ve seen before, with Ukrainian forces clinging tenaciously to the last position in a city or town. It is unclear whether this group of buildings included anything like tunnels or hardtops. It’s honestly hard to know if there are any Russians left as of Saturday.
On the other hand, that blue box in the lower right of the image is the approximate location of a small column of Ukrainian vehicles, including several trucks, including three ex-Polish tanks, which Russian sources are showing with indications that these vehicles “Damaged or Abandoned by Ukraine.” This may well indicate that the area is still far from being safely under Ukrainian control, although it is difficult to tell if the image is actually new and if the vehicles have indeed been abandoned.
Considering that Ukraine’s own Ministry of Defense is reporting progress in Vysokopilya, it seems fairly safe to repeat what is being said about the situation there. Now I’m moving on to more about what Russia is saying … which seems safe enough to talk about, because it’s not exactly something that needs to be hidden from Russia.
It is some concern that the Inhulets success across the river. For days, Russian Telegram has been buzzing with reports from the region, including complaints from Russian sources on the ground, that Ukraine is expanding its bridgehead and attacking in new directions. On Friday, the Russian message on this area was distributed. On the one hand, Russia began to report that it had destroyed Ukrainian forces on the east side of the river (third time the charm). It had pushed back their advance, recaptured villages, destroyed a Ukrainian outpost along the river, and destroyed a Ukrainian command center on the west side of the river. A little mopping to do, folks, and this little issue will go away.
On the other hand, those Telegram sources, and some Ukrainian voices, continued to indicate that the Ukrainian bridgehead was expanding, moving both south and west. In fact, it now appears to be the largest territorial gain and the largest sustained countermeasures effort (unless operational security is hiding something really big).
This is definitely one of those “open the image in another tab to view at a larger size” moments. But wait. This diagram gives a good idea of where it is located along the breakthrough line, and how it relates to both the distance to Vysokoppilia (just above the map) and the bridge to Nova Kakhovka (just below). map).
But here’s a closer look at success, with other towns and villages labeled to make it easier to talk about what’s going on.
The bridgehead, which was installed several weeks ago, has long encompassed three villages – Adrivka, Lozov and Bilohirka – along the river. It was at Adrivka that Russia now claims to have destroyed the eastern Ukrainian base, although there is no evidence of this. Shortly after the bridgehead was established, Ukraine pushed cross-country to Bruskinske, leading many to believe that their goal was to bypass the Davidiv Bridge and head down the T2207 highway towards Berislav and Nova Kakhovka. .
In this retaliation, it appears that Ukraine first moved to free Sukhi Stavok before attacking Bruskinsky again. However, the thrust of the attack seems to have turned south again, capturing Kostroma and attacking the Russian “second line” at Shchasliv. These were the things that happened on Thursday. But as of Friday, it appears Ukraine has stepped up its offensive, even hitting Russian troops at Bezimene.
[NOTE: There’s currently a lot of clouds over the area, so most of these hot spots are at the limit of that 24 hour window.]
The latest NASA FIRMS images show Ukraine hitting conditions well south of both Shchasliv and Bezimene. This could be a good sign that Russian forces have already been pushed out of both villages and are trying to hold positions on the opposite side of advancing Ukrainian forces. As always, FIRMS reports are somewhat cryptic, surrounded by war-related hotspots (because, darn it, spotting artillery isn’t FIRMS’ job), and it’s impossible to tell a Russian-caused hotspot from a Ukrainian-generated hotspot. . . All that said, the fact that the line of FIRMS hot spots is well within Russian territory (and not just on Davydiv Bridge) seems to be a good sign that Ukraine is on the move.
What’s not on the FIRMS map? There is no indication that there is any truth behind the Russian claims that the Ukrainian advance has been turned back and two Ukrainian outposts near the river have been hit.
What’s going on elsewhere – we’ll get to that later.
Now seeing unconfirmed reports that Ukraine has taken both Bezimene and Berskinske. I am referring to these reports, but I am Definitely not going to update my map.
“Unconfirmed” is the key word here. These reports, from pro-Ukrainian sources, are likely to be either overly optimistic, or misread “trial” as “trial.”
It’s a very interesting way to look at the total change in control, across Ukraine, over the last three months.
The largest area in red is the area of Donbass that Russia captured immediately after the fall of Severodonetsk. Otherwise, their progress is very low. Russia has actually done a better job of recapturing territory north of Kharkiv than advancing east.
In Kherson, you can see the red bulge which is the area where Russia advanced between Snihurivka and Kiselyivka. Everywhere in Kherson, Ukraine has advanced. Ukraine has also made significant movements in Zaporizhzhia. That total change means that all of the territory taken by Russia in the last three months would fit within the city limits of Huntsville, Alabama or Lexington, Kentucky.
A few comments on accepting any Ukraine news from pro-Russian sources.