Ukrainian forces have liberated Izyum, marking the overwhelming success of their counteroffensive in Kharkiv. Izyum served as Russia’s premier logistics hub in the Donbas, from which Russia supplied its forces earlier in the year.
Russian state media claimed that their troops in the area had been ‘safely regrouped’ to focus on the Donetsk reason, despite reports by Ukrainian advisors of the overwhelming amount of POWs Ukrainian forces took.
Alongside Izyum, some sources claim that Lyman too has been liberated, and there are reports of fighting in Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk, which Russia took earlier in July.
The Russian offensive in the Donbas saw Russia advance at a slow, grueling rate. Ukrainian forces opted to inflict as much damage as possible and withdraw, and though Russia claimed a victory, their casualties were pyrrhic. The battle of the Donbas is likely a contributing factor to Russia’s inability to hold territories in Kharkiv, as well as the much-hyped counteroffensive in Kherson. Though the southern counteroffensive has been slow, they have nonetheless attained various successes, which will likely increase as Russia faces more pressure in the north.
Fighting has also been reported in the Donetsk International Airport. Though the DPR’s Sparta Brigade claimed that the situation was calm and there were no Ukrainian forces present, it is rumored that the leader of the separatist republic, Denis Pushilin, has fled the region. A document and a video recorded on September 10th seem to give credence to the claim, although details have not been confirmed. Even if Pushilin has not left himself, a long convoy of separatists fleeing into Russia has been observed. Even in Mariupol, reports have come that partisans are raising Ukrainian flags over some areas of the city.
The speed at which the offensive in Kharkiv has developed should not be taken as a rule but rather the exception. Russia still has a hefty amount of combat power remaining in Ukraine. Rather, their difficulties will be in choosing what theatre to send reinforcements to amidst a broad collapse of their defenses across the frontline. Moreover, Ukraine and the West have reiterated their commitment to fighting the war until all of Ukraine is free, indicating that even Crimea will be lifted from Russian occupation in time.
Pro-Russian sources have expressed a level of fatalism previously unobserved, criticizing the Russian Ministry of Defense and offering sober predictions as to the future of the war. While some have clung to the belief that their forces are ‘encircling’ Ukraine despite the complete collapse of their frontline, others argue that the only way to secure Russia’s advances is through the use of tactical nuclear weapons on targets in Kyiv and western Ukraine.