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Russia is caught off guard by Ukraine's one-two counterattack

Thursday, Ukrainian forces pushed deep into enemy territory to open a second front in Kyiv's counterattack. This came as a surprise to the Russians who were occupying the area.

The Ukrainian government said that 20 villages had been freed in the northeast, outside of Kharkiv. At the same time, the military moved toward the occupied city of Izyum while fighting hard for Kherson in the south.

Oleksiy Hromov, the deputy chief of the general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces, said Thursday that his country's forces had gone more than 30 miles past Russia's defensive line as they moved from Kharkiv toward the Donbas.

"Since the beginning of the week, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, along with units of the National Guard and other security forces, have been conducting active operations in certain directions," he said, according to the Ukrainian news outlet Ukrinform. "More than 20 settlements were freed during active operations in the direction of Kharkiv."

Videos that were shared on social media Thursday claimed to show Ukrainian troops lowering a Russian flag in Nova Husarivka, which is halfway between the front line and the city of Izyum, which is a major Russian staging ground.

Ukraine continues to fight in the south of the country.
Ukrainian authorities announced the liberation of 20 villages in the northeast.
Ukraine war map as of Sept. 8, 2022
New York Post photo composite

The video came after Russian separatists said on Wednesday that they had seen the enemy in Balakliya, which is just north of Nova Husarivka, and that a Russian jet had been shot down in Volkhiv Yar, which is even farther north. The speed and direction of the Ukrainian advance pointed to Izyum as a possible target.

Russian media didn't confirm that the villages had been lost, but they did say that Chechen fighters loyal to Moscow said they had stopped a Ukrainian attack on the other side of Izyum, near the cities of Soledar and Seversk in the Donbas.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya and a puppet of Putin who likes to exaggerate, told the Russian news agency TASS that his troops had stopped a Ukrainian advance.

The liberation of villages would signal a massive move in the six month long war.
The Ukraine war has been in a stalemate for months.
Defense of Ukraine

“The Ukrainian command sends detachments of servicemen to missions that are almost suicidal,” Kadyrov said.

“This picture of soldiers of the armed forces of Ukraine recklessly attacking our positions has been repeated for the fourth day and numerous times,” he added.

But if the Ukrainian gains are true, they would be a big win for Kyiv after a month-long standstill after the fall of Luhansk, the northernmost of the two provinces that make up the industrial heartland of the Donbas region.

And if Ukrainian forces take Izyum, it would likely cut off a major supply line for the Russian army in the Donbas, which is already having a hard time.

Thursday, Ukrainian Brig. Gen. Oleksiy Gromov told reporters about the movements in the northeast and praised his military's slow-moving Bayraktar drones, which were made in Turkey.

"If the enemy doesn't have air defense systems, infantry and motorized artillery units are easy prey for our Bayraktars," he said.

The victories came after weeks of so-called "shaping operations," in which long-range rocket artillery made in the West was used to destroy bridges and supply routes, cutting Russian forces off from supplies and each other. This made the battlefield more favorable for Kyiv.

The attack on the northern side of Russia seems to have caught the Kremlin off guard. With the Ukrainian military's continued pressure on the Kherson region in the south, Russia's attention has been split in two, and Russia's supply lines between the two fronts have been cut off.

Russia has refused to confirm or deny the status of the villages.
Ukraine soldiers lowered the Russian flag and lifted a Ukrainian flag.
Defense of Ukraine

Thursday, Ukrainian officials said that the Russian command is still focused on keeping Kherson, which was an early win for Moscow in the first days of the invasion.

Hromov told reporters that Ukrainian forces are still making progress in Kherson on the southern front, but that Russian forces are still fighting back.

On Thursday, the Defense Ministry said that Ukrainian artillery continued to attack Russian supply and logistics lines in the area, following orders from rebel forces behind Russian lines.


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