October 3, 2022

Hardwood Paroxysm

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The Russians withdraw, the cities of the East return to Ukraine. Moscow: “We are just reorganizing”

The yellow flag, like wheat fields and the blue sky, a symbol of peace, flutters over the rooftops. “Kobiansk is Ukraine. Glory to the Armed Forces”, the adviser to the head of the Kharkiv Regional Council, Natalia Popova, rejoices on social media. This is the announcement of the liberation of the city occupied by the Russians on February 27 and which has become a major supply center for the Russian forces. And also fell Izyum where yesterday the Ukrainian militias also forced the forces of President Vladimir Putin to withdraw.” “We have just begun to purge the city. The first military units arrived,” a Bohon brigade spokesman said. “The Russians ran away, leaving behind weapons and ammunition.” On the ground, he says, there were also the uniforms of some deserters.

The war, the Ukrainian counterattack breaks the Russian front: I have regained a thousand kilometers. ‘Moscow is paying a heavy price’

demobilization
The eastern front of Ukraine, which has been invaded for more than five months, is collapsing, along a line of about a hundred kilometers from south of Kharkiv to Donbass. Shevchenkovo ​​and Palaklia surrender, while the Ukrainian counter-offensive advances towards Lyschansk and the troops reach the outskirts of Lugansk, which the Russians occupied in early July after a difficult battle. “I am convinced that after achieving a few successes at the front, even small victories, Russian soldiers will begin to flee,” predicts Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, in an interview with the Ukrainian RBC news agency. The operation launched by Kyiv on 6 September to regain lost ground in the northeast of the country is certainly at a turning point.

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Although the Russians are trying to downplay the importance: “The forces are reorganizing themselves near Balaklya and Izyum to increase efforts in the direction of Donetsk, in order to achieve the goals of the special military operation to liberate Donbass,” says the Moscow Defense Ministry, quoted by Interfax. According to the official RIA Novosti news agency, the Russian authorities in Kobyansk “are still in the city despite the bombings, while the evacuation of the population is underway.” Discontent is spreading among pro-Russians, however, accusations of “major leadership mistakes” by the first deputy minister of information of the Donetsk separatists, Danilo Bezsonov, have rebounded. The head of the pro-Russian administration in Izyum, Vladimir Sokolov, admits that “the situation is very difficult. In the past two weeks the city has been under constant bombardment by Ukrainian forces with foreign ammunition: HIMARS rocket launchers and 155 mm M777 howitzers caused destruction and a large number of dead and wounded ” Thus, the advance of Moscow, as indicated by British intelligence in its report, would be crushed towards the border line: Kyiv’s soldiers were able to storm themselves “up to 50 kilometers into the territory formerly controlled by Russia”, hence the enemy militias around Izyum is “increasingly isolated” and the restoration of Kobyansk is a “serious blow to the Kremlin because it is located along the supply routes.”

The liberation of the city is considered the most important victory for the Ukrainians after the withdrawal of Moscow from the Kyiv region. As for Vladimir Putin, it is a crushing defeat. Located along what used to be the front line between the two armies, Kobyansk calls it a “major logistical center” by the American Research Institute for the Study of War. A map shared by Veli-Pekka Kivimaki, a Finnish services analyst on Twitter, shows how many railways in northeastern Ukraine run from here.

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Devastation
Also in the east of the country, troops from Kyiv entered the village of Grakov yesterday and found themselves facing destruction: smashed electric poles, wires scattered on the ground, smashed houses, bomb pits. The road from Kharkiv is littered with skeletons of cars that have been burned or destroyed by tanks. But for supporters of Russia, fake news is spreading from Kyiv to “cause panic.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky summarizes the results of the counterattack: the troops recaptured more than thirty towns and villages in the Kharkiv region, the estimate is 2,500 square kilometers of territory. Yesterday he had a long conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, during which the critical situation of Zaporizhia was addressed. “Our position is that the only way to protect Europe from nuclear catastrophe is to disarm the station,” Zelensky tweeted. On the diplomatic front, meanwhile, the West continues to show its support with the surprise visit of the German Foreign Minister, Annalena Barbock: “I’m in Kyiv to show that they can continue to count on us.”