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On September 9, the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue their offensive operations in the Kharkov region. They managed to break through Russian defences in several areas on the front lines and develop their bridgehead.
On the evening of September 8, President Zelensky claimed Ukrainian control of the town of Balakleya, which became the main target of the first phase of the Ukrainian offensive. In its turn, the General Staff of the AFU is yet to confirm the full control of the town.
The advance of the Armed Forces of Ukraine from the western direction in the town was confirmed by the footage from the spot. Ukrainian flags were raised over the administration buildings in the central districts of the town.
Ukrainian flag over Balakleya:
The Russian grouping has been holding the positions in the town for more than three days, being blockaded by Ukrainian artillery fire. Late on September 7, it was reported that additional Russian forces managed to break into the town and secure evacuation of the wounded. Late on September 8, several Russian sources confirmed that Russian forces left their positions in Balakleya after the way to retreat was secured. At the same time, some reports claim that some clashes continue on the eastern outskirts of Balakleya. No Ukrainian advance to the east from Balakleya has been confirmed so far.
As the Russian military is yet to officially comment on the situation in the area, various military reporters suppose that some Russian forces are still fighting in the eastern and north-eastern parts of the town. On the north-eastern outskirts of Balakleya, there is a large 65th arsenal of the AFU ammunition storage located. The Russian army took control of the arsenal back in March. It is still not clear if there is any military equipment or it was emptied by any of the warring sides.
Anyway, the remaining Russian forces in Balakleya were blocked by Ukrainian fire and probably could not repel the advancing units without reinforcements.
Fighting in Balakleya on September 7
North of Balakleya, the AFU are reinforcing their stronghold in the village of Volokhov Yar. They advance to the north towards the village of Shevchenkovo, where fighting has been ongoing for several days.
According to preliminary reports from the front lines, the village of Shevchenkovo came under control of the AFU at noon on September 9. The control of Shevchenko secured the AFU flank and paves the way for their offensive to the north.
On the other hand, Russian forces in Shevchenko fulfilled their task and detained the AFU offensive. The Russian military is unlikely to keep forces there in the face of the threat of their encirclement and fighting near Kupiansk.
Part of Ukrainian forces bypassed the village of Shevchenkovo on its southern outskirts and advanced to the east towards the town of Kupiansk which is an important node for the military supplies of the entire Russian grouping in the Izyum region. Ukrainian forces also advanced south of the highway and took control of the villages of Bezmyatezhnoe and Spodobovka located on the roads leading to Kunye.
The AFU reached the village of Senkovo located on the right bank of the Oskol River. There is a bridge which is of strategic importance for the Russian military supplies to the grouping in Izyum. Clashes in the village continue.
Russian helicopters urgently transfer reinforcements to Kupyansk and Izyum:
On September 9, the AFU shared photos from the southern outskirts of Kupiansk. Last night, several Ukrainian assault groups were repelled from the area. Russian forces in Kupiansk are preparing for defense. The battle for the town is likely to begin on the coming hours.
The AFU attempt to cut off the roads between Kupiansk and Izyum used for the supply of the Russian grouping in the region. However, the Russian military could still reinforce their positions in the Izyum region from the eastern direction through the town of Oskol. If the AFU continue their advance and cross the Oskol river, the supply of the Izyum grouping should be organized through the LPR territory.
A deeper breakthrough on the left bank of the Oskol seems impossible without a supporting strike from Slavyansk and Seversk to the Izyum and Krasny Liman.
Russian positions in the Kharkov region taken by the AFU:
From their positions in Volokhov Yar, the AFU are also advancing along the road to the south-east towards the village of Vishnevoe. So far, the village reportedly remains under Russian control.
To the south of Balakleya, Ukrainian forces attempt to advance towards Veseloe and Kunye, but they were stopped near Zaliman.
Part of the Ukrainian grouping was involved in distraction of the Russian military from the main directions of the attacks. Heavy artillery duels continue south-west of Izyum, where the Ukrainians have been deploying in attacking positions. A local offensive began near Kopanki to the southwest of Izyum.
On the side of Ukraine, whole units of NATO countries are fighting, who simply changed their chevrons to Ukrainian ones. The Pentagon announced a new package of military assistance to Ukraine totaling $675 million. It includes additional shells for HIMARS MLRS, 105 mm howitzers, HARM anti-radar missiles, Humvee armored vehicles etc.
The situation is extremely difficult for the Russian side. The transfer of troops from the Kherson region through the Crimea has reportedly begun. This confirms the strategic failure of the Russian forces.
As the Russian military found themselves in a rapidly deteriorating situation in the Kharkov region, Russian President Vladimir Putin convene a meeting of the Security Council on September 9. Partial mobilization which seems necessary for continuation of Russian military operations in Ukraine could become one of the topics to discuss.
The Ministry of Defense remains silent. Against the background of incoming information from the Ukrainian front lines, which is distributed mainly through social networks, the silence of the Russian Ministry of Defense leads to distrust to Russian generals. The rapid development of the Ukrainian offensive in the Kharkov region, who cut the Russian grouping and reached the Oskol river in 4 days, demonstrates a deep systemic crisis in the Russian military-political leadership.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Battle For Balakleya: Major Successes Of Ukrainian Military Since February 2022
- Ukrainian Forces Went On Offensive In Kharkiv Region