An update from the Ukrainian military expert Oleg Zhdanov for 16th September 2022.
Kyiv time 18:00
The situation on the frontline is becoming more stable and less dynamic. There are certain directions and sections where fierce defensive and counter-offensive fights continue, which have their own successes.
The enemy continues interfering with the activities of Ukrainian forces in certain directions, holding onto captured territories, and attempting to occupy the Donetsk Oblast. We can conclude Russians will command their forces to advance until the last Russian soldier. Aside from mercenaries, VDV are also taking part in the battles in the Donbas.
The enemy is shelling Ukrainian positions along the whole frontline, attempts to regroup in certain directions, and carries out air recon; the danger of strikes remains in all territory of Ukraine.
In Kharkiv, the enemy attempts to create a defensive line, regrouping and conducting strikes at civilian infrastructure.
In the past day, the enemy attacked over 30 settlements with air and artillery strikes. This included 11 missile, 15 air, and 96 MLRS strikes.
Strikes continued at the Kryvyi Rih dam to destroy it and increase the water level on the Inhulets river, but this is so far fruitless. Ukrainian emergency services are doing all they can to prevent flooding. In other locations, several missiles were taken down, but a few landed resulting in casualties among civilians.
Volyn and Polesye directions
No changes. Belarusian drills have ended, and the situation is stable. The threat of missile strikes from Belarus remains, but no accumulation of forces can be observed.
Sumy Oblast suffered the most from shelling, Chernihiv Oblast was more or less quiet.
Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Bakhmut, Avdeevka directions
Shelling along the whole line, positional fights, assaults on Ukrainian positions.
Novopavlovskoye, Zaporizhzhia directions
No assault operations have been observed in these two directions.
Pivdennyi Bug (Kherson) direction
Ukrainian artillery counter-battery operations were activated in this direction with the goal to destroy the main Russian artillery support in this direction. Aside from this, Russians are active with air recon and air strikes: 34 flights were conducted to strike at the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia directions.
The enemy is attempting to hide significant losses after strikes at Russian personnel locations. We are destroying the enemy artillery, not allowing them to shell us, but also striking ammo caches, command points, and locations of the personnel. After recent strikes in Vasilyevka and Kherson, Russians were removing corpses of soldiers in overfilled trucks. Ukrainians are striking personnel to either force the enemy to retreat to the left bank of Dnieper (without vehicles) or surrender (or die from artillery).
The AFU successfully repelled several attacks in the Donetsk direction where Russians are most active, the frontline is still under control, but pressure continues. Although pressure remains in Luhansk Oblast, Ukrainian forces are gradually entering and liberating it. The LPR leader yesterday said – “no panic, Ukrainian forces are already in Luhansk Oblast”.
In total for the past day, the Ukrainian airforce dealt 18 strikes at personnel and vehicle locations, 13 strong points and ammo caches, and 5 air defence systems. Ukrainian reconnaissance is very active in all directions. Two UAVs were destroyed by anti-air systems. Logistical centers were struck in Melitopol and other directions.
Ukrainian recon received intel saying certain Russian units on the left bank have been ordered to withdraw due to lack of combat capability. These will be crossing the river on boats, or die/surrender. Ukrainian forces are moving slowly, but still approaching Kherson.
Military and political news
- An unpleasant piece of news. In de-occupied Izyum, a large grave was found with the AFU servicemen and captives buried. Russians turned a forest into a mass grave. Over 500 civilians were also discovered buried. Human life is not worth a penny in the Russian Federation, so it’s not reasonable to expect any understanding from them. This applies to the majority of Russians.
- The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand is taking place. Putin is attempting to reanimate the CSTO defensive organisation. Armenia is a part of it, they asked for military help in hostilities with Azerbaijan, but Russia totally ignored it. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan saw armed clashes at the border. The latter somewhat take away attention from the Karabakh conflict, but Russia claimed that to be a success of the Russian diplomacy. Both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are members of CSTO, therefore Russia should be providing military help to both. Russian diplomacy has completely failed here, unable to control the situation, and help any of the four countries involved in conflicts.
- At the SCO summit, there are two most notable individuals, these are Erdogan and Xi Jinping. Russia is quietly watching the action standing in the corner. It is not a central country anymore in the Organisation, with China here taking the prime spot and ruling the direction of the summit. Rumours say Xi asked Putin if the goals of the SMO will be reached, to which Putin answered positively. But Xi is very well aware of the situation as Chinese intelligence is watching the battlefield closely, it is rumoured he grinned at Putin’s reply.
- China showed Kazakhstan is within the sphere of influence of China, not Moscow. Earlier, Russians left Kazakhstan very quickly when China asked them after the attempted coup in January this year.
- Politico reported that Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal proposed a law that would declare Russia a terrorist state, without State Department’s approval, which has been against such a decision. Cuba, Syria, Iran and the DPRK are all declared terrorists and no civilised country wants to deal with them. We all know the living standard in these states and how no one wants to deal with them due to their status. Joe Biden is against declaring Russia a terrorist state, so we will see how this situation will develop.
- White House, Joe Biden announced a new $600 million military aid package! This may include several HIMARS systems, but the officially available section is not mentioning this. The public section includes 36,000 105mm shells; 1,000 high-precision 155mm shells (likely Excalibur shells); 4 anti-radar systems; 4 trucks for carrying heavy vehicles; anti-UAV systems; engineering forces will receive mine detection devices; anti-infantry ammunitions, likely mines; explosives; small arms and ammo. This will all likely to arrive quickly, the past two packages were transferred via the US airforce air bridge to Poland very quickly. After the previous military package, the Ukrainian counter-offensive in Kharkiv started, so will see how this new package will reflect on the hostilities.