An update from the Ukrainian military expert Oleg Zhdanov for 12th September 2022.
Kyiv time 17:00
The situation on the frontlines has stabilised, but Ukrainian success continues in a number of directions, yet there is also worrying news in areas where Ukraine is defending.
The enemy continues efforts to capture the whole of Donetsk oblast and hold on to their territories. The first shock is over, Russians are trying to accumulate reserves and stop retreating units and turn them around, and prevent Ukrainians from advancing forward.
The danger of aviation and missile strikes remains across the whole of Ukraine. In the past 24 hours, 18 missile and 39 air strikes were carried out at civilian and military facilities in Ukraine.
Volyn-Polesye (Belarus – North)
No major changes, both sides conduct exercises, that is Russian-Belarusian, and Ukrainian sides.
Sumy Oblast suffered from shelling, and Chernihiv was quieter.
Ukrainian defence forces repelled attacks in Mayorskiy and Krasnogorovka, fights continue in Mykolaivskoye and Zaytsevo. Battles here continue although intensity decreased. Mercenaries do not count losses, they fight for money. The situation however remains very difficult.
Generally, the frontline is stabilising along the Oskol river. There is unofficial information about battles near Lysychansk and Severodonetsk.
Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine still has success and reaches the state border with Russia. Russians are running deeper into temporarily occupied territories. They loot and hijack cars from civilians for their own use. Over 20 settlements have been liberated in the past day.
Significant losses on the Russian side, 810th marines brigade lost 85% of personnel, rest of the forces en-masse refuse to return to the combat zone. The 810th brigade is dying for the second time, the first time it was destroyed in Mariupol.
Regarding low morale in Russian forces. Ukrainian south command report that junior officers of the Russian army are looking for contacts with Ukrainian security forces to surrender. Units in the right bank of Dnieper are deserting. At first, Russians with helicopters attempted to search for deserters. Then 1,300 Rosgvardia Chechens were transferred to help find deserters. Junior commanders themselves began withdrawing troops dozens of kilometers from Ukrainian positions. They have nowhere else to go, this is the effect of weeks-long precision strikes on crossing and ammo caches.
Shelling and aviation strikes by the adversary in Kharkiv, Sloviansk, Avdiivka, Zaporizhye, and Pivdenniy Bug directions.
- Russian border forces are aware of Russian passports given on the territory of Ukraine. These people are not allowed to Russia, leading to significant queues at the border.
- In places where Russian forces demonstrate resistance, Ukrainians are firing shells with leaflets calling for surrender. An unofficial report says there are 5,000 Russian POWs in Ukrainian hands.
- All countries in Europe have made the choice of which side they are on, no one has doubts Ukraine needs weapons supplies to achieve victory. Even Hungarian Orban needs to decide his political position. Serbs have opened their eyes and realised they cannot have a conflict with Kosovo as Russia will not be able to help them. This is all thanks to the successful Ukrainian counter-offensive.
- Rumours that Germany might agree to provide tanks to Ukraine, and Spain might be training Ukrainian tankmen. Germany has significant stockpiles of quality weaponry and might be more inclined now to transfer some of it to Ukraine in light of recent success. Generally speaking, European officials are taking more difficult decisions.
- In Russia, a number of inner political processes have started that will only continue increasing. First, officials start losing their fear of the Kremlin. Local city deputies in Moscow and St. Petersburg declared that Putin must be removed from power. This is a very significant development given that Russia is a dictatorship. Also, a number of federal TV representatives are concerned with the fact that so much territory was lost in just five days. Russian soldiers cannot be forced to fight for Ukrainian lands. There are calls to both shoot or spare Russian generals, who on their side are starting to openly oppose Putin. This argument is increasing. Zhdanov believes this is similar to the late 1930s in the USSR. Putin has an option to reveal the conspiracy of the generals who lost the war and start chopping their heads. If he doesn’t, the generals might unite with oligarchs and hang Putin.
- The “national named battalions” created to be sent to Ukraine is a big mistake and the program has failed generally. While they managed to create several battalions in Chechnya, in other locations these battalions might be used by authorities to establish security against Kremlin. These battalions contain highly motivated individuals and residents of local regions.
- Now oligarchs are given orders to form private military companies. This means Putin is not even counting on the Armed Forces. The money will not come from the state budget but from the oligarch’s pockets, creating an even more dangerous situation.
- Iranian UAVs that Iran denied delivering turned out to be a flop, they are very weak and difficult to use, so unlikely to be seen in Ukraine.
- Lloyd Austin today for the first time gave praise to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which never really happens.