The successful progress of the Ukrainian military in the counterattack continues. It has liberated more than 300 villages in the Kharkiv region in the country’s northeast over the past 12 days, forcing Russian troops to flee in chaos. Russia is no longer in full control of even the Luhansk region in the east of the country, after Ukrainian forces recaptured a village near the town of Lysichansk, The Guardian wrote.
Russian forces captured key towns in the eastern Severodonetsk and Lisichansk regions two months ago. After a failed attempt to capture Kiev in March, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the main goal of the war in Ukraine was to gain control in the east of the country, but here too his troops are losing.
Ukrainian women’s stories (in Ukrainian)
It is unlikely that the Kremlin will be able to take control of the entire Donbass, including the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, The Guardian writes. On Monday, there were also unverified reports that Ukrainian troops were freeing Lisichanska.
The governor of Luhansk, Serhii Hajday, announced that the Ukrainian armed forces had “full control” of Bilohorivka. “This is a suburb of Lysychansk. We’re about to sweep those bastards out of there. Step by step, centimeter by centimeter, we will liberate our entire country from the invaders.
Look where the Ukrainians have already driven out the occupiers
Ukrainian forces have recently achieved success in both the Kharkiv and Kherson regions. The maps clearly show which territories the Ukrainians have already expelled the occupiers from.
In addition, Ukrainian forces now control the entire area west of the Oskil River in eastern Ukraine, which is considered the front line in northeastern Ukraine.
At a regional summit in Uzbekistan last week, Putin reiterated Russia’s determination to continue its “special military operation” despite losses in the northeast and Ukraine’s southern offensive in the Kherson region.
Russia is under pressure and vulnerable to another counterattack
The American Institute for the Study of War claims that Russia has not sent reinforcements to counter the attack on Ukraine. It is increasingly relying on “irregular volunteer and proxy forces” instead of its regular military units, he said. “It is now under pressure and vulnerable to a further counterattack,” the think tank said.
In Russia, military recruitment continues, but because of the army’s failures at the front, more people do not want to do it. “The Russians are doing so badly that news from the Kharkiv area has led many Russian volunteers to refuse to fight,” The New York Times (NYT) quoted a senior US defense official as saying on condition of anonymity.
Forces are also sought among convicted criminals. Footage released last week showed Wagner’s group, a private army with close ties to the Kremlin, promising to release convicts from prison in exchange for six months of fighting in Ukraine. “We believe this is part of a campaign by the Wagnerites to recruit more than 1,500 convicted criminals.” But many of them refuse,” the Pentagon official confirmed.
Oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, who leads and finances Wagner’s mercenary group, personally visited the correctional colony to recruit new “soldiers”.
In the 1980s, Prigozhin spent 11 years in the correctional colony Himsef.
We can expect more Russian war crimes. pic.twitter.com/SHkkHRq8kc
— Visegrad 24 (@visegrad24) in 2022 September 14
He added that Wagner’s leader appeared in these videos asking Russian prisoners, Tajiks, Belarusians and Armenians to join the fight in Ukraine.
According to the NYT, as Ukrainian troops continue to liberate territory and the war has dragged on for nearly seven months, the Pentagon is considering how best to support Kiev in the event of a protracted war. Part of this plan is the rearmament of Ukraine. The Soviet-era weapons are to replace models used by NATO and other Western militaries.
Although Russia has problems with recruiting and organizing troops, it still has a significant advantage in supplies and ammunition. President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly asked Western allies for more equipment and ammunition, saying the success of the ongoing counteroffensive depends on their support.
In his speech on Monday, he also called for speeding up delivery. “The tempo is very important now. The speed of aid to Ukraine should match the speed of our progress.”
The official said the US is also prepared to possibly send major Western tanks to Kiev, which until now have supplied Soviet-era armored vehicles. “Armored technology is a really important area of opportunity for Ukrainians. We understand that the day will come when they will want – and may have to – move to NATO-compatible models,” he said.
Acceleration of referendums in the occupied territories
Governor Hajdaj said that the leaders of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic began to panic. There have been reports of chase squads rounding up men in the streets and conscripting them into the army, and mobile communications and the internet have been blocked to prevent people from learning about Moscow’s military failures.
The leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, and his counterpart in the Luhansk People’s Republic, Leonid Pasechin, announced on Monday that they wanted to speed up referendums on joining Russia. They said they were responding to a call from citizens of these two separatist units in eastern Ukraine. According to the Russian news agency TASS, the people of Kherson region in the south are also ready to vote in the referendum.
Co-workers run away from busy areas
Ukrainian citizens accused of collaborating with the occupiers are fleeing to Russia. Ukraine pledged to catch and punish all collaborators. So far, the authorities have opened an investigation into 1,400 cases of treason and collaboration with the enemy.
“The residents of the Kherson region are asking us to make a decision as soon as possible. They are ready to go to the referendum just to have security guarantees and for Russia to stay here forever,” TASS quoted Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of Russia’s appointed administration, as saying.
Urgent calls from self-proclaimed republics for a referendum show that Ukraine’s counteroffensive is causing panic among proxy forces and some Kremlin officials, the Institute for Military Studies says in a recent report.
Hajdaj believes that the Kremlin must hold referendums in the occupied territories in order to later announce a general mobilization. The date of these referendums has not yet been determined, officials indicate the end of autumn as a likely date.