It has been two full months since Russian forces completely withdrew from the areas around Kyiv, Sumy and Chernihiv. In the process, Russia has left behind an incredible collection of destroyed vehicles, an insane series of destroyed villages and disgusting evidence of mass war crimes.
In the time since the media treated unstoppable “convoys” like Russia and turned back to Belarus, Russia has made significant strides in eastern Ukraine. But the entire area gained in the last two months is only part of what Russia has handed over in a week since the failure of the attack on Kyiv.
Also during this period, Ukraine launched counter-offensives both north of Kharkiv and west of Kherson. In both cases, pro-Russian sources dismissed the counter-offensives as a “failure” because they failed to completely push Russian forces out of the Kharkiv region and failed to capture the city of Kherson. But expecting one of these things to happen quickly is creating false expectations. In Kherson, Ukraine is working to capture a large city without does with this city what Russia did in Mariupol or Popasna. North of Kharkov also has a strange regional name Russia. The other areas that are currently located there are so close to the border that the nonsense of the Russian supply line simply does not matter.
It would be exciting for any of these counter-offensives to really ignite and see the same kind of progress they made in their early days. This is unlikely. But… wait. What is this?
Two days ago, when we updated the maps to include Ukrainian control over a series of towns and villages along the southern half of the line in the Kherson region, I said I was less confident in this map than any I had presented. But now I can say … the map was good. For the next 24 hours after the release of the card, there was nothing but a sweet confirmation of the reported positions.
Even better: Ukraine is now advancing from these positions, putting serious pressure on Russian forces in the city of Kherson. The three main cities captured two days ago are Soldatske, Pravdine and Alexandrovsk. It is now reported that Ukrainian forces are holding the village of Mirne. Fighting continues at Kiselivka at the northern end of the region and at Stanislav in the south, but reports in the middle have told Ukrainian forces to move across the field to threaten a critical Russian position on Tomina Balka.
From the positions they now occupy, Ukraine is blowing up Russian positions near Kherson airport with artillery. But even more telling is that Ukraine is now striking positions all the way across the river (those flame icons in the lower right corner) – probably anti-battery fire on Russian positions far away.
Related to these long-range footage are reports that Ukrainian forces fighting under Stanislav include newly trained forces operating newly donated Polish T72 tanks, US M113 armored personnel carriers and various new infantry fighting vehicles. These forces are doing well, as it is reported that the standing troops are recruits sent from Luhansk. In some reports, Ukraine has already cut off Russian forces in Stanislav and neighboring Shiroka Balka, so look for a potential change of control over the coast the next day.
The three critical points in this area outside of Kherson itself are Kiselovka, where Ukraine has been fighting for more than a day; Tomina Balka; and the area just around the airport and Chernobayevka, which Russia reportedly fortified to withstand a Ukrainian attack.
How much has changed here? A week ago, this whole map – except for a small area reaching Alexandrovsk – would have been red. The profits around Kherson are not spectacular … because they are not Kherson. But they are significant, and everything shows that Ukraine is still moving forward.
In the past, I was thrilled to find the site of a skirmish based on a road junction and several buildings. However, this is nothing compared to what truly dedicated people working on geolocation can do.
With regard to this geolocation tweet above, keep in mind that this artillery position was located in nothing more than some vaguely undulating terrain and telephone poles.
Next week, watch him find a video using a bush and an abandoned boot.
The first murder is attributed to a harpoon rocket. It was a tugboat and was supposed to transport supplies to the island’s occupying forces, but the anti-aircraft system on board was a valuable target.