An update from the Ukrainian military expert Oleg Zhdanov for 19th September 2022.
Kyiv time 16:00
Interesting day, there is both good and bad news.
The enemy is still attempting to occupy Donetsk, hold onto the occupied territories, shelling Ukrainian positions along the whole frontline, carry out regrouping, deploy reserves, and conduct air reconnaissance. Russians continue shelling civilian infrastructure.
In the past day, they dealt 3 missile strikes, 22 aviation strikes, and 90 MLRS strikes at targets in Ukraine. This was followed by another 3 missile strikes during the day, damaging civilian infrastructure in a number of locations. The danger of air and missile strikes remains as anti-missile systems are lacking.
Volyn – Polesye direction
No major changes except for the start of new drills by Belarusians. These are the 21st drills extended by Lukashenko, now until 24 September, but without Russian participation. Appears they will continue drills until they die from exhaustion.
Slobozhankoye, Kramatorsk, Bakhmut, Avdeevka, Novopavlovskoye, Zaporizhzhia directions
Continued shelling in these directions.
Pivdennyi Bug (Kherson) direction
The enemy shelled the whole frontline, and over 18 settlements suffered as a result of gun and air strikes. Due to a significant deficit of human resources, Russians use non-traditional methods of replenishment. 400 convicts were sent from Russian Tambov to reinforce positions in Ukraine. In Krasnodar Kray, the community organisation of Afghan veterans received a task to collect money to purchase clothes for the local volunteer battalion.
Ukrainian defenders continue holding off the Russian advance in Bakhmut, which is still the most difficult direction. Russians continue advancing here despite heavy losses, even though the line of defence has barely moved in the past 2 months. This is a purely political decision from the Russians. Unclear how long this will last.
In the past day, Ukrainian air forces carried out 21 airstrikes including 16 strikes at personnel locations, command points, and air defence positions. Every day, Ukraine is taking out 3-5 air defence positions of the Russians with HARM missiles. This is leading to substantial losses which are confirmed by the fact that Russians are transferring equipment from the Finnish border, including Iskander missiles, and border forces. St. Petersburg is losing air defence cover, including S-300 positions. Anyone is now welcome to bomb the former capital.
A number of other Russian command points and caches were struck today. This is likely to be a mass preparation for Ukrainian counter-offensive operations, where removing enemy air defence will be necessary. We are preparing for a large movement of Ukrainians in the future.
Russia shelled the South Ukraine Nuclear Powerplant, leading to a shutdown of some of its systems. This is a response of Putin to the lack of success on the frontlines. The Russian army exhausted itself and is unable to advance. Generally, the powerplant can withstand missile strikes, but Russia realises the potential consequences of uncontrolled radioactive fallout, including for Russia.
- UN will send a mission to Izyum. It appears that the Izyum tragedy is times worse than Bucha. Any data collected by the UN will go straight to the international tribunal. Despite some inefficiencies, the UN is effective when it comes to observing human rights. The same commission investigated the battle of Ilovaysk and documented 80 cases of Russians finishing off Ukrainian wounded.
- Ministries of Foreign Affairs of France, Poland and Germany called for the creation of a special European mission for training Ukrainian soldiers in the EU on a long-term basis, using NATO standards.
- In terms of humanitarian and financial aid, Germany is one of the leading countries, and while there are issues with military aid, still, Germany resumed its humanitarian mission for treating Ukrainian wounded soldiers, which is similar to what Germany did in the past 8 years, for their own money. Just recently Germany provided a plane for transferring Ukrainian fighters to Germany, with the highest level of quality of service and comfort.
- Ukraine received from the USA $1.5 billion of grant aid. The financial support for Ukraine to provide the functioning of the state and economy in addition to leading war is not stopping. We hope this does not stop until the end of the war and continues after the war to restore and reform the Ukrainian army to the level of NATO states.
- Spain sent to Ukraine five transport planes with ammo for large caliber artillery systems, reported by the General Staff. This is 155mm caliber ammo.
- Israel continues air strikes in Syria. The Russian Federation does not seem to object, even though Russian weapons are also being destroyed.
- In Istambul, the body of the first corvette for the Ukrainian navy is approaching the end of construction. It is named after Hetman Mazepa. The body is complete and painted. The Ukrainian navy is being restored slowly but surely despite the war. The corvette will soon start to be filled with internals.
- Ukrainian Presidental Office representative said it makes no sense for Zelensky to meet with Putin. The meeting can only happen after the Russians leave Ukraine. Given Putin’s statement to India’s Modi that he wants negotiations as soon as possible, he should withdraw all troops from all of Ukraine as soon as possible.
- In Russia, a critical point might be approaching, that will either lead to a coup with the change of the ruling elite, or to civilian unrest that will lead to a civil war. There are triggers that could provoke tectonic changes in Russian society. One of these is a curious situation with the late-Soviet and modern Russian singer Alla Pugacheva, one of the most famous people in Russia, who came out with an anti-war statement along with her husband Maksim Galkin. They both left Russia, and Galkin was declared a foreign agent. He started again with political satire he couldn’t do while in Russia. Pugacheva returned with her children to Russia, and began receiving threats regarding her political position. After Galkin was declared a foreign agent, she asked to be declared that too. She said that the war has “illusionary objectives”. It is important to note that Pugacheva is extremely popular in Russia and has been in the spotlight for over 50 years, enjoying legendary status, and her position is very substantial.