On September 10, Kyiv’s forces continued their large-scale attack on Russian positions in eastern Ukraine.
The most intense fighting is ongoing in the sector of Izum and Liman (south of Kharkiv Region and the north of Donbass) after the retreat of Russian units from Balakleya (with surrounding villages) and parts of Kupyansk (Russian troops retreated towards Oskol River). As of now, Russian forces retreated from 2/3 parts of Kupyansk. Reports indicate that most of the town may fall into the hands of the advancing pro-Kyiv troops in the nearest future. It should be noted that Oskol River in this area cannot be considered as a ‘large water barrier’ and could be easily crossed by the advancing units if they face no fierce resistance.
At the same time, Russian troops are reportedly retreating from the key towns of Izum and Liman. If these reports are confirmed, the Russian military likely opted to not carry out positional defense in these areas. Russian forces are retreating in the face of the threat of encirclement and amid the tactical operational crisis in the area.
The advance of Kyiv’s troops are accompanied by large-scale campaign of terror aimed against local population. Reports from Balakleya and nearby settlements show multiple cases of war crimes and oppression campaign against civilians that remained there. Kupyansk and all other areas left by the Russian military will not likely avoid this fate.
The current efforts of the Russian military are focused on preventing the further deepening of the existing crisis, the scale of which is limited by multiple cases of heroic deeds of Russian servicemen.
Summing up developments of the last days, Kyiv’s forces already achieved a victory on operational scale and captured the strategic initiative in the conflict amid the indecisive posture and ‘acts of free will’ of the Russian leadership. Moreover, their advance continues and the Russian military has not stabilized the frontline so far.
The rapid retreat of units of the Russian Armed Forces in the Izum sector demonstrated a deep systemic crisis of the Russian military-political command. The silence of the military-political leadership of Russia in the face of the deep crisis in the East of Ukraine may lead to the loss of confidence in the leadership among at least a part of the citizens.
If the Kremlin does not take important and radical measures to reform the existing command system and purge dangerous disrupters within it, then a military defeat (at least in some scale) of Russia will become a likely outcome of the military campaign in the East of Ukraine.
Currently, the Russian Armed Forces in the southern part of Kharkiv Region and in the north of Donbass is balancing on the edge of defeat, which is prevented by unprecedented heroism of Russian military personnel.
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