Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
Cyber Monday Extended SALE: Up to 60% OFF InvestingPro+ CLAIM OFFER

Analysis-Ukraine blindsides Russia with northeastern thrust at supply hub

World Sep 09, 2022 12:01PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian servicemen drive near Bakhmut, as Russia's attack in Ukraine continues, in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, September 7, 2022. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/

By Tom Balmforth

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine's rapid territorial gains have caught Russia off guard at a vulnerable section of their front line in an attack that threatens an important supply hub used by Moscow in the east, military analysts said.

The surprise advance was Ukraine's most dramatic of the war so far and came in northeastern Kharkiv region hundreds of kilometres from the southern Black Sea region of Kherson where the brunt of a Ukrainian counteroffensive was expected.

Moscow has long held around a fifth of Ukraine's territory in the south and east. It heavily reinforced its troops in the south as Kyiv talked up plans to attack there in recent months, but that left Russian forces exposed elsewhere, said Konrad Muzyka, director of the Rochan military consultancy in Poland.

After days of withholding battlefield developments, Ukraine said on Thursday that its forces had burst through Russian lines in the Kharkiv region that borders Russia, advancing up to 50 km (30 miles) and capturing dozens of settlements.

"It's an opportunistic attack that's really caught the Russian forces by surprise. It could actually become something quite significant if the Ukrainians are able to push on and take the (city) of Kupiansk," said Neil Melvin of the RUSI think tank.

Kupiansk is a rail hub on the way to the key Russian-held outpost of Izium from where Moscow has anchored some of its main operations in the partially-occupied eastern region of Donetsk whose full capture the Kremlin has prioritised.

Civilians were being evacuated from Kupiansk and Izium, a Russian-appointed local official, Vitaly Ganchev, said after Russia's defence ministry posted footage of trucks and armoured vehicles it said were heading to the Kharkiv region.

The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War predicted Kyiv's forces would likely recapture Kupiansk within 72 hours.

"That (gain) would then threaten an encirclement of Russian forces in Izium, so it could become quite a blow for the Russians in Donetsk (region). There is a chance to have a strategic breakthrough on the Donetsk front," Melvin said.

Ganchev said earlier that the breach was a "substantial victory" for Kyiv in a surprising acknowledgment broadcast on state television in Russia after months in which Moscow has said its "special military operation" is going to plan.

But many in the West still predict a long war of attrition.

"This is likely to go on for some significant period of time," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday. "President Putin has demonstrated that he will throw a lot of people into this."

'A THOUSAND CUTS'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly address that Ukraine had retaken more than 1,000 square km (385 sq miles) of territory in the south and east since Sept. 1.

Previously the battlefield's frontlines had not changed significantly since Russia claimed to have captured the eastern Luhansk region in early July.

"The general frontline situation resembles a stalemate, but perhaps we are seeing the first signs that the balance of power is shifting towards Ukraine," Muzyka said.

He said that neither Ukraine nor Russia had the manpower and equipment to conduct a large-scale, combined arms counteroffensive.

"We are going to see probing attacks, limited incursions into certain areas. Depending on how they play out, we will see more movement or more advances, or counterattacks," he said.

Dale Buckner, CEO of security firm Global Guardian, said "we do not believe the Ukrainians will be able to take entire sections of the Russian-occupied territory by spring of 2023, but will have limited success with smaller tactical objectives."

Buckner said that Russian supply lines were now being stretched from Luhansk to Kherson, providing the opportunity for a surprise attack on the poorly defended front line in and around the Kharkiv region.    

"This is the first real validation of Ukraine’s ability to counterattack—but with limited success. It does change the path of the conflict moving forward. The Russians now have an expanding challenge of defending the terrain they have taken," he said.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine's president, told Reuters that Ukraine had significantly stepped up attacks on Russian logistics infrastrucure and supply corridors.

"We are pushing on their army in all directions, there isn't one particular one. We are using the tactic of a thousand cuts. Kharkiv, Kherson, Melitopol directions, as well as Donetsk and Luhansk – they are a priority," he said.

He said Moscow's offensive had stopped and that Russia was switching to defence.

"Russia is opening defence in all directions, lost at where to send their reserves. They are trying to guess where our main targets will be, and redirect their reserves, including artillery capabilities, to those directions," he said.

Analysis-Ukraine blindsides Russia with northeastern thrust at supply hub
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Sep 09, 2022 12:39PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
The beginning of the end.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email