The Kharkov Counterattack – No Big Success – No Large Defeat

The ‘western’ media are euphoric about the ‘successful’ Ukrainian counterattack in Kharkov oblast.

Ukrainian forces retake key villages as counteroffensive advances writes the Washington Post. How Ukraine Gained Momentum Against Russia and Took a Critical Hub says the New York Times. WaPo again: Intelligence points to potential turning point in Ukraine war. Ukraine News: In Reclaimed Towns, Ukrainians Recount a Frantic Russian Retreat, headlines the NYT. Is Russia on the run? asks the Economist.

All have fallen for the belief that the Ukrainian rapid advance has caused a Russian defeat. That however is not the case.

The main Russian forces had already left the area. What was left were sentry guards of the Luhansk People’s Republic and a few companies of the Russian National Guard which is more or less a police force. That is why the ‘western’ official talking with Reuters is quite cautious with his assessment:

“There’s an ongoing debate about the nature of the Russian drawdown, however it’s likely that in strict military terms, this was a withdrawal, ordered and sanctioned by the general staff, rather than an outright collapse.”

“Obviously, it looks really dramatic. It’s a vast area of land. But we have to factor in the Russians have made some good decisions in terms of shortening their lines and making them more defensible, and sacrificing territory in order to do so,” the official said, adding he did not expect Russia to immediately seek to regain lost territory.

The main Russian reason for holding onto Izium southeast of Kharkov was to use it as a springboard to attack Sloviansk and Kramatorsk along the M-03 highway. However over the last months several Russian attempts to cross the Siverski Donets river south and east of Izium and to establish a bridgehead on the southern side had failed.

Situation at the end of August with Izium in the upper left corner


Cont. reading: The Kharkov Counterattack – No Big Success – No Large Defeat