In a day that has already seen tens of thousands of square kilometers in northeastern Ukraine liberated from a spectacular aggressor, Saturday morning brought news that seemed too perfect to be true: Russian troops reportedly captured Kupyansk, then Leman. In, either fled or surrendered. Now in Izyum. Places that have been under Russian occupation for months, and at the heart of Russian operations in eastern Ukraine, have been liberated.
Not only that, but all three areas have been liberated without any long street-to-street fighting, or artillery battles. That is, unlike cities captured by Russia such as Severodonetsk or Mariupol, these cities have not been reduced to rubble in the process. This is the definition of a win. With an additional win.
You may notice that this morning’s update doesn’t come with maps. This is because I have a clue About how to draw them. Russian troops have reportedly fled these strategic cities, but have they also fled all of the front line positions they have fought for so long? What is happening in Andreevka and Ivanivka and dozens of other points that now find themselves on the wrong side of a line that was blown back 50 kilometers overnight? There are reports of mass surrenders in some areas, and highways jammed with fleeing vehicles in others. Nothing has been confirmed, and it will likely be several days before the picture becomes clear.
Is the occupation of these cities complete in any way? Lots of pictures coming from Kupiansk, but very few from Izyum and Lyman. It is possible that Ukrainian forces in any of these cities have captured a portion of that territory, and that fighting is still ongoing. However, reports from Russian sources certainly seem to indicate that Lyman and Izum have “surrendered”—mostly yelling at Moscow for failing to take swift action (and in some cases calling for a nuclear strike). ). There was certainly a battle at Kupiansk, but it certainly seems to have ended.
An official Russian media outlet is reporting that “Russian troops leave the city of Izyum in the Kharkov region. And that’s the best we’re going to get for any certainty until Ukraine makes its official announcement. (On the same outlet’s Telegram channel, there is no mention of Izyum. Instead, the only war news is reporting on three days of Ukrainian shelling that reportedly killed two in Donetsk, and that there were “refugees Line” is a mysterious report. Kupyansk.).
As of this morning, (6AM ET, 2PM in Kyiv) there were reports that That arc of the front line between Sviatohirsk, Lyman, and Izyum was occupied by Ukrainian troops advancing westward, and other Ukrainian troops pressing northward south of the city—from places such as Dovhen’ke, where he fought so long and so hard. Both of these are good signs that Russian forces have fled, not only the cities, but the small towns around them that have marked the front line for weeks, and in some cases months.
The general assumption is, when the dust settles, everything west of the Oskil River will be under Ukrainian control. How far Ukraine also extends its reach on the other side of that river, and north of the Siversky Donets, remains to be seen. So far, there is no sign of Ukraine sitting back to congratulate itself on a job well done and take a break. They may not be needed. After all, on Saturday morning there were numerous reports of Russian forces fleeing from places like Svyatov, which is 50 kilometers away from any fighting.
Russian reserves arriving in the area are said to have been caught in a traffic jam with vehicles of Russian forces, local allies and a cadre of Russian propaganda artists – all trying to get out. Chaotic is not a bad description.
There is still a lot of information to be revealed on all fronts.
Currently, it is still unclear how much of Kupyansk Ukraine has been liberated. This certainly seems to include the entire city up to the river, but it is not known whether the Russian troops fled from the part of the city that lies across the damaged bridge. Oskil could become the new front line, or — and there are some reports that this is already happening — Ukrainian troops could move down the eastern bank of the river, further securing rail lines and a string of towns along that bank. can free It will take another day, or maybe longer, to find out. Russia had already reportedly directed several reserve units to the city. There may be more fighting ahead, or those units have already been intercepted and redirected elsewhere.
In Izium, Russia has made the surprisingly wise decision to withdraw troops along the last remaining road to the east, rather than leave them to be encircled and fight it out inside Izium. How many of those forces, or forces that were located west of Izyum, failed to break out and eventually surrendered … we don’t know. How much of their ammunition and supplies were left behind … we don’t know (though we already seem to figure it’s a lot). Ukrainian officials will now rush to the city to assess the situation with Izyum’s water supply, electrical grid, gas pipelines, and ensure food continues to flow to the city’s population, many of whom have been without Russian food for more than six months. was forced to ride. occupation Expect to hear a lot more about what Russia did during that time, and a lot more about what happened next, as well as how Ukraine deployed from what was the main target of this retaliation. has chosen
At Lyman, Ukrainian forces reportedly entered a town that was empty of Russian troops. The city had already been seriously damaged by an artillery-heavy occupation by Russia at the end of May. Has anything been done to repair that damage and keep Lyman a functioning town in the summer? Again, what’s coming at Lyman right now are reports from Russian sources who are full of disgust at being on the losing end. What happens now? We’re going to find out.
In less than a week, Ukraine has liberated an area that likely exceeds 3,000 square kilometers and has liberated several villages, towns, and cities that may number in the triple digits. This is absolutely one for the history books. Ukraine’s military may be able to continue this high-speed offensive. Some sources indicate that the number of units engaged in the anti-Kharkiv offensive so far Only about a third Ukraine was equipping and training that force for a counteroffensive this fall.
Does liberating Izyum, Kupyansk, and Lyman mark the end of that high-speed push? i don’t know As all this is going on, fighting has broken out again in Kherson, where Ukrainian forces are reportedly having success at the southern end of the front (allegedly world-shattering gifts of watermelons from local residents including). There are also reports of increased anti-Russian activity in cities such as Melitopol and even Mariupol, where partisans reportedly raised Ukrainian flags at word of victories in the north.
On Friday, many Russian channels on Telegram and pro-Russian accounts on Twitter were all singing the same song: Sure, Ukraine has scored some minor victories, but Russia is sending reserves into the region. The forces ahead of Izyum will be trapped. Kupyansk is safe. Russia will return to Balaklia in a day or two. Everyone should just wait until Saturday, when those reserves arrive, and see how things look on the new day.
It’s a new day. And what a day!
The Russians are getting news of what happened
The third army of Russia arrived
It seems that some of those reserves made it into the fight. Just in time to finish like all other Russian units in this battle.
Honestly … I got nothing. The only thing I have from Lyman right now are text messages and some shots of buildings. If you see good images from Lyman or other places, please post them.