Around the eastern Ukrainian metropolis of Kharkiv, the Ukrainian army launches successful counter-offensives and reconquers areas that have already been lost. This puts Russia’s troops in a dilemma.
It is a good 200 kilometers from the Russian military base in Belgorod to the front in the Donbass south of the Ukrainian city of Isjum. Belgorod is the base for Russia’s military operation in eastern Ukraine. From there, Moscow sends new troops and military equipment to the front, and sends spare parts and fuel. The supply route leads directly past the metropolis of Kharkiv.
Kharkiv has played a key role in the plans of the Russian army since the beginning of the invasion. The region around the city was to be conquered quickly, in order to then advance further south. At first it worked. But after the initial rapid gains in territory, the fronts in the Donbass are only slowly shifting, and the advance has turned into a war of attrition.
While there are problems in the Donbass, the Russian army is unable to hold parts of the areas already conquered. Ironically, around Kharkiv, the Ukrainian army launched successful counter-offensives in the past two weeks and forced the Russian troops to withdraw.
The American military think tank “Institute for the Study of War” (ISW) has been providing detailed reports on the course of the war since the beginning of the Russian invasion. In its current situation report, the ISW writes about several smaller towns around the metropolis that are said to have been recaptured by Ukraine.
According to the Kharkiv regional administration, the Ukrainian army pushed back Russian troops from Cherkasy Tyshky, Rusky Tyshky, Rubishne and Bayrak in the Kharkiv region. The “heavy fighting” in the region, including in Kharkiv itself, continued.
From a military-strategic point of view, Ukraine’s counter-offensives near Kharkiv are clearly calculated. In order to secure access to their military base in Belgorod and thus the supply of the troops in the Donbass, Russian troops have to be withdrawn from the front for recapture. A dilemma, as it means an additional weakening of the already paralyzed conquest plans, the renowned US military expert Mick Ryan also analyzes via “Twitter”.
Due to the importance of the connection to Belgorod, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense also expects increased Russian attacks in the Kharkiv region – at the expense of the actual offensive further south.
Despite the recent successes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy did not want to allow euphoria and “excessive emotions” to arise. “There is no need to create an atmosphere of specific moral pressure when certain victories are expected on a weekly and even daily basis,” he warned. The occupiers would be “gradually” expelled from the region.