Russian Army Gives Way in Two Areas Returning More Annexed Land to Its Rightful Owner

Wreckage along the route of the Russian retreat from Lyman to Kreminna.

Saturday, one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the Ukrainian oblasts of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson were a part of Russia in perpetuity and not subject to negotiation (Putin’s Illegal Annexation of Ukrainian Territory Marks the Beginning of a War Without a Perceivable End), The Ukrainian Army overran the Lyman pocket that held about 3,000 Russian troops. These troops retreated eastward in disorder leaving behind dead and wounded soldiers and abandoned vehicles and equipment, see Putin’s War, Week 31. Mobilization, Annexation, and Russian Forces Routed From New ‘Russian’ City. Just as important as the military victory was the political pie-in-the-face it delivered to Putin. Lyman was a Russian-occupied town in one of the oblasts annexed. Everyone waited to see the reaction.


Sunday, Ukraine kicked off two new offensives. One of these was a follow-on to the wildly successful Kharkiv offensive of early September. Remember in my Saturday update that I said:

Combat has been limited to three Ukrainian bridgeheads across the Oskil River in the vicinity of Horobivka, Kupiansk, and Kivsharivka. Nothing appears to be going on there now, but the jostling around the bridgeheads is a clue we should keep an eye out for.

The Ukrainians came out of those bridgeheads and cut the major Ground Line of Communications between Svatove in the north and Kreminna in the south in two days. Svatove could fall by the end of the week as the Russians have already ordered an evacuation of civilians.

Please forgive the image I’ve constructed based on an Institute for the Study of War map, a map in a tweet, and my own graphics.

The double-ended yellow arrows point from the current Ukrainian attacks, on the right, to the bridgeheads over the Oskil River on the left. The starburst at the end of the arrow on the right map show where Ukrainian Army forces have cut the main P66 highway that supplies Kreminna.

In the south, the Ukrainians appear to have set up blocking forces on the outskirts of Kreminna to bypass it to the north with their main attack.

Russian milblogger @rybar on Telegram, who has more time and energy than I do, produced this video of the offensive.


The second offensive thrust kicked off in northeast Kherson. A double attack there could create another Lyman-style pocket with a few thousand Russian troops inside. The main attack came down the right or north bank of the Dnieper River. For now, it has paused in the town of Dudchany. Another offensive action was launched from the salient west of Davydiv Brid oriented on Berislav. The dotted purple line is the line of contact between the Russian and Ukrainian forces on Saturday. This is based on a map circulating on Twitter.

Keep in mind that the Russians are at a distinct disadvantage. All of the bridges across the Dnieper have been impassable for about 45 days, and 100% of their supplies must be moved from across the river by pontoon barge.

And now we’ll pause for our ritual moment of silence:

The fact that Ukraine has the men and materiel to launch two widely separated offensive actions in concert with each other shows the tactical and logistical sophistication the Ukrainian Army is developing. Three times in the last month, the Russian Army has allowed breakthroughs by the Ukrainians to an operational depth. It shows that the Russian Army lacks the numbers and/or the ability to defend its lines. It has also demonstrated operational blindness on the Russians’ part that allows the Ukrainians to mass forces with impunity. It will be interesting to see how much more punishment Russian units can take before deciding they’ve had enough.


October could be a very interesting month in this war.


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