Noting how the last few days have seen Vladimir Putin call for partial mobilization in Russia, President Joe Biden blasted Russia for significant violations of the Charter at the United Nations, and a major prisoner exchange that involved many All returned in exchange for Azovstal defenders and US POs. An oligarch and some captured Russian agents, it’s understandable that the last few updates haven’t gone very far into the nitty gritty of the events below.
This afternoon there is an attempt to remedy this, at least when it comes to the area around the northern Donetsk city of Lyman.
Despite 100 “any minute now” claims over the past few days, as of this writing (2PM ET, 10PM in Kyiv), Lyman does not appear to have been fully liberated by Ukrainian forces. There are certainly Ukrainian forces in the city, and Russia has certainly surrendered several positions in the past week of fighting, but the latest reports are that fighting continues inside Lyman. However, something else seems to be happening that may be more important than whether the last Russian troops are booted from Liman.
Over the past day, Ukrainian forces have reportedly broken through Russian defensive lines near Rubtsy, on the east side of the Oskil River, resulting in significant frontal activity. Reports on Telegram and Twitter at this point have seen a similarly excited, rapid-fire transition during the Kharkiv response, with some reports suggesting that Ukraine had already liberated the city of Lozov. is – which was such a position that Russia assumed. Using mass for your own counterattack. A report indicates that Ukrainian forces failed in their attempt to take Karpivka. Other reports have Ukrainian forces as far north as Rydkodub (one of several new locations I had to add to the map).
Several Ukrainian sources have photographs of Ukrainian troops at Korovi Yar. However, it is unclear whether this is more than an advance force passing through the area. Now several sources are claiming that the liberation of the town has been confirmed. It will advance 5-km of the line on the last day alone.
It is possible that the area under Ukrainian control now extends north to the river Lozhov and west of the Lyman to the Kharkiv-Donetsk border, making this counterattack much more extensive than indicated on the map. Or, of course, not. In the post-Kharkiv response period, there have been many more reports where previously reliable sources seem to jump the gun, some anxious to be the first with a new announcement. In this case, it seems certain that there has been some level of success near Rubtsy, that Ukrainian forces have advanced to the front line of towns to the north, and that Russia has been pushed back on its heels in the region. While fighting to keep positions around. Lyman.
The map above shows a pretty good middle ground when it comes to reports. Ukraine can be more independent. We should know soon. Some reports also suggest that, instead of continuing north, Ukrainian forces are moving around to put Lyman in a sort of “pincer”, which Russia has tried to achieve in many places, and failed. . If so, it should become clear in the coming days.
Elsewhere, Russia continues to advance in the region of Bakhmut, and Ukrainian sources indicate that Russia has had “some success” in the south. It appears that Russia is not trying to move into the city from the east, but wants to shake up the current Ukrainian situation by moving south-west of Bakhmut. But as always, movements in the region have been small. In Kherson, Russia reportedly recaptured the village of Pravdin in the southern part of the region, which Ukrainian Telegram channels called “an unpleasant loss”. This may be linked to images seen on Russian sources that allegedly show a column of Ukrainian vehicles being destroyed in Kherson.
Earlier on Thursday, images were circulating that purported to show Ukrainian special forces at Enrhodar, near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The best that can be said for these is that they are fake. Also… why?
Another story that has been circulating widely over the past few days is a rumor that the US intends to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. It’s a request Ukraine has made for some time, and there’s no doubt the Pentagon would like to please them on this point. The US has built more than 10,000 Abrams. They may leave some out. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to make it work.
More than 40 years ago, the US and Russia took very different directions in tank development. Russia’s T-72 (and all its many successors) is basically what was called a light or medium tank in the earlier days. Although the latest versions have swelled to over 40 tonnes, it is intended to be cheap, fast and manoeuvrable. At the other end of the spectrum, an M1A2 Abrams tips the scale at 70 tons. This is about 10 km/h slower than a T-72, but this T-72 is not finished in a sandwich of depleted uranium, graphite, ceramics, reactive explosives and steel. It is also not equipped with the technological marvel of thermal and IR vision systems.
Basically, the Abrams is a tank meant to take a punch and punch. The T-72 is a tank meant to take a punch and … will be replaced by the next cheaper T-72 in line.
Does the Pentagon want to see how an M1A2 SEP stacks up against a T-80M or T-90? Or how does it hold up on a battlefield full of drones and portable anti-tank weapons? Yes, it definitely does.
However, almost every tank that the Ukrainian military now operates is some form of the Soviet T-72 family (or earlier). Each variant poses problems in the form of different engines, different electronics, different fire control systems, etc. At first even these differences seemed too great, but as the war progressed, Ukraine became more substantial. Specializing in handling a mixed bag of tanks and other vehicles from multiple countries.
On the other hand, Abram Nothing Ukraine has more in common with anything on the battlefield now. It doesn’t just have a different engine, it has a different type None of the engine (a 1500hp multifuel turbine) and fire control, visual system, and coms gear inside the tank are quite compatible with anything at hand. A tank company drives out with truckloads of thousands of spare parts and maintenance gear, none of which Ukraine has. It is not just a matter of learning to operate the tank, it is learning to deal with the special systems used in maintaining it, repairing it and maintaining it.
But hey, you can load it up with about 500 gallons that burn. That is something.
The training, maintenance and logistical challenges of using the Abrams in Ukraine are almost insurmountable. The US may be interested in seeing how the tank performs on the battlefield against Russia, but it has little interest in seeing Russia run away with an Abrams that was abandoned because it lacked 10,000 essential parts. One of them was missing. And that, considering how often Russia and Ukraine have shifted gears on this point, is absolutely worrisome.
It is difficult, but not impossible. And Ukraine wants it badly, so it’s probably going to happen.
For now, other NATO nations are expected to continue working to eliminate their old Soviet designs to send to Ukraine. But don’t be surprised if once the mud season really starts for Ukraine, Ukrainian soldiers are getting some training in Texas.
Remember the part of Putin’s speech where he said it was only for reserve members with combat experience, and it wasn’t like he was going to start recruiting college students? These are college students being pulled straight from their classrooms.