An update from the Ukrainian military expert Oleg Zhdanov for 13th September 2022.
Kyiv time 17:00
The situation is stabilising on the frontlines, but the counter-offensive is continuing. Not at the same pace as before, but regardless, it is going according to plan.
The enemy continues efforts to completely occupy the Donetsk Oblast and interfere with Ukrainian activity in certain regions. Along the line of contact, enemy shelling goes on, and the enemy attempts to regroup and conduct air recon in certain directions.
The threat of missile and air strikes remains. The enemy did not stop shelling civilian infrastructure, thus breaking international law norms. Over 33 cities and villages suffered from missile, gun, and MLRS strikes just in the past day. However, Kharkiv city was not one of them for one night.
Russian occupiers carried out 3 missile strikes, 33 airstrikes, and 58 artillery strikes and both military and civilian facilities in Ukraine.
Volyn-Polesye (North) direction
The situation did not change dramatically, we are expecting the conclusion of combined Belarus-Russian drills, and we will see the results. At the moment there is no information, but the drills did not present any real threat to Ukraine.
Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, and Pivdennyi Bug directions
Strikes here continued, including along the whole frontline and deeper using the full range of Russian weapons. Additionally, constant air recon is observed, which indicates the Russians have missed a lot of intel before the Kharkiv counter-offensive and learned their lessons, therefore air recon has increased.
Additionally, Russian forces returned to their beloved tactics of staying in civilian facilities, this is especially noticeable in the Kherson direction. In Chaplyno, Russians often kick locals out of their houses and take over, knowing that Ukrainians will not shell residential areas.
Every day, Russians are taking significant losses in personnel, and attempting to replenish them with various methods, including recruiting convicts who receive full amnesty after signing 3 to 6 month contracts, depending on the severity of the crime. However, it does not seem to be an effective method as of now.
Also, the recruitment of reservists into the 3rd Army Corps continues. It is the only operational reserve in the RF as of today. It needs to have 15,000 people, but they barely managed to recruit 10,000. The corps is spread across the whole frontline. During the Kharkiv counter-offensive, units of the corps were destroyed by Ukrainian aviation and artillery. Among recruits, many alcoholics and drug addicts have been noticed.
Locals in Horlivka were ordered to mobilise 6,000 people in Donetsk Oblast by 19 August. In the city, arrests and searches of the male population continue.
Nevertheless, the enemy continues fighting stubbornly. The mercenaries are paid 360k+ per month and are ready to kill anyone. The most problematic area remains the Donetsk direction from Siversk to Maryinka, where assaults of positions are not stopping. Ukrainian defenders however repelled attacks in numerous locations in this direction.
Ukraine carried out 12 strikes on personnel and vehicle locations of the enemy, with two planes taken down, including Su-25 and Su-24M. Also, a Mi-8 helicopter and a UAV were taken down. All these were shot at various locations. Additionally, 9 command points were struck. Russian losses are being clarified.
In the Black Sea, six Kalibr missile carriers are on duty, with a combined missile capability of up to 40 missiles. In the Azov Sea, the enemy has up to 6 ships and boats. In the Mediterranean, up to 5 Kalibr missile carriers are on duty, though these are not allowed to the Black Sea by Turkey.
Political and military news:
- Gauleiter of Melitopol Galina Dalnychenko confirmed that men in occupied territories who receive Russian passports are immediately mobilised and must go to the war.
- The White House is likely to announce the new military aid package to Ukraine within one week on the basis of a successful counter-offensive in Kharkiv Oblast. The current trend of European countries to assist Ukraine is moving in the right direction, and it becomes a bad look not helping Ukraine.
- Lend-lease from Russia: Russia dumped massive numbers of vehicles in Kharkiv Oblast. From 29 August until 12 September, it has been visually confirmed Russia has lost 442 units of combat vehicles. This includes 237 intact vehicles that have become trophies and will be used against Russia.
- The new suggested security guarantees to become effective temporarily between the end of the war and Ukraine’s joining of NATO. NATO is a level Ukraine needs to strive for. Joining the alliance would be beneficial for both sides. The guarantees suggest that in case of aggression, within 24 hours the alliance must provide weapons, funds, and sanction Russia. Regardless of how this goes, the positive is in that until the war ends there will be no negotiations with Russia, and any negotiations will be on Ukraine’s conditions. Russia clearly wants negotiations based on the claims of its political establishment.
- Clarification regarding yesterday’s statement about municipal deputies in Russia demanding mobilisation: regional deputies do want to stop the war and for Putin to resign, however, the state parliament deputies including communists do call for an urgent declaration of war, mobilisation, and fighting Ukraine until full victory.
- Ursula von der Leynen is coming to Ukraine again, to Kyiv, despite all the difficulties. She said on Twitter: “We will give Ukraine the opportunity to use its potential”. We are waiting for the guest – no one ever comes with empty hands. She will bring $100 million to restore Ukrainian schools destroyed by Russian fascists. This is in addition to the 19 billion euro macrofinancial aid already promised by the EU.
- In the UK, five thousand Ukrainian servicemen concluded training. It is unclear however if this is in addition to the previous four thousand, though Boris Johnson promised previously ten thousand in total. This will all be used in reserves and potentially to open another counter-offensive direction in Ukraine.
- A number of European politicians made phone calls with Putin. The rhetoric however is now much better than what it used to be. Germany’s Scholz called for Putin to find a diplomatic solution based on a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine. A reminder that international recognition includes borders as of the year 1991.
- In the temporarily occupied Crimea, from 19 September the exit of men will only be allowed upon confirmation by enlistment offices, making running away impossible. This means Crimea is starting to mobilise.