Ukraine retakes Russian-occupied land near Kharkiv with surprise counteroffensive

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  3 weeks ago  •  41 comments

By:   Phil McCausland and Dan De Luce (NBC News)

Ukraine retakes Russian-occupied land near Kharkiv with surprise counteroffensive
Ukrainian forces surged forward in the country's east Friday after punching through Russian defenses in a surprise counteroffensive around the Kharkiv region.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Link copied Sept. 9, 2022, 8:02 PM UTC By Phil McCausland and Dan De Luce

Ukrainian forces surged forward in the country's east Friday after punching through Russian defenses in a surprise counteroffensive that could prove a decisive turning point in the war.

Kyiv said its military had recaptured swaths of territory in a thrust centered on the region around Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city.

Officials shared a flood of images and videos from the region, with some verified by NBC News showing soldiers raising Ukrainian flags over once-occupied towns and villages or posing victoriously next to road signs. Others appeared to show troops being met by residents who offered soldiers everything from heartfelt thanks to pancakes.

While Ukrainian forces pushed to retake occupied land in the surrounding region, Russia launched rockets against the Ukrainian-controlled city of Kharkiv. Vadim Belikov / AP

The military's general staff said in a statement that its armed forces had advanced more than 30 miles in three days and that Russian forces were retreating in a rush.

"As of now, the armed forces liberated and took control of more than 30 settlements in the Kharkiv region," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address Friday.

NBC News has not verified the claims.

Russia's defense ministry shared video showing military vehicles that it said were rushing to the aid of its forces in the east, while a Moscow-installed official in the region conceded that Ukrainian troops had made gains.

220909-russian-convoy-mn-1510-4fc91a.jpg Russian military vehicles in Ukraine drive in the direction of Kharkiv in video released Friday by the Russian defense ministry. Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

"The very fact of the breakthrough is a significant victory for them," Vitaly Ganchev, who leads the Kremlin-controlled government in the occupied territory in Kharkiv province, said Friday in an appearance on Russian state TV. He said battles were ongoing for some strategic areas.

Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Vladimir Putin, refused to comment on Ukraine's advances but said that the Russian president would hold a closed security council meeting.

Putin promised earlier this week topush on with Moscow's military efforts in Ukraine, saying that his country was gaining rather than losing from the conflict.

Events on the battlefield appeared to paint a bleaker picture for the Kremlin, however.

The United States expressed cautious optimism about Ukraine's counteroffensive, with the Pentagon saying Kyiv's forces were putting Western-supplied weapons to good use.

"We see success in Kherson now, we see some success in Kharkiv and so that is very, very encouraging," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told a news conference Friday during a visit to Prague.

U.S. officials declined to comment on the precise details of Ukraine's progress on the battlefield.

Sasha Baker, deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, told reporters in Washington it was "probably too soon to have a definitive assessment," but added that "I think we've seen some encouraging signs.

But she added that Russia represented "a formidable adversary" and that there was "a long fight ahead."

A senior U.S. military official told NBC News it was clear Ukrainian forces were "making progress," adding: "They've advanced significantly in the last few days."

Ukraine initially launched a counteroffensive in the country's south late last month after weeks of public buildup and preparation, as it aimed to push toward the coastal city of Kherson.

Then this week, after Russia redeployed large numbers of its own forces to the south to combat that effort, reports began to emerge of Kyiv's forces launching another counteroffensive further north — a move that appeared to catch both the broader world and Moscow's military off guard.

"Either the Russians were too incompetent to see it, or they were so incompetent they saw it and couldn't do anything," Phillips O'Brien, chairman of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said earlier this week. "And neither of those are comforting for them."

Some Western military analysts said the advance appeared aimed at shutting off supply and communication lines Russia has relied on to sustain its forces in eastern Ukraine, and could potentially leave thousands of Russian troops encircled around the city of Izyum.

The industrial Donbas region has long been the focal point of Putin's war effort, with such sweeping advances on either side largely unheard of in a grinding, attritional conflict.

Recent developments "are creating fissures within the Russian information space and eroding confidence in Russian command to a degree not seen since a failed Russian river crossing in mid-May," according to the Institute for the Study of War.

Russian military commentators, the institute noted in an analysis, said their commanders had been "completely outplayed" by Ukraine's "obvious and predictable counteroffensive."

Glen Grant, a retired British officer who worked as a defense reform expert in Ukraine before the war, said there remained some questions about the success of the counteroffensive. For instance, had Ukraine beaten back Russian forces or were they "driving into fresh air."

"In other words, there's nobody there," he said, adding that he wanted to know if Ukraine was laying down strong supply lines and artillery support as it moved forward.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday that Ukraine was taking advantage of the Western-made weapons now in its arsenal, including U.S.-supplied HIMARS rocket systems.

"Russian strategic objectives have been defeated," he told reporters at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. . "The war is not over. But so far, the Russian strategic objectives have been defeated."

President Joe Biden this week approved an additional $675 million in military aid for Ukraine, including more artillery ammunition, armored vehicles and anti-tank systems.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Brussels after Blinken's trip to Kyiv, said the war was "entering a critical phase," requiring the West to remain clear eyed about what's at stake.

"If Russia stops fighting, there will be peace," he said. "If Ukraine stops fighting, it will cease to exist as an independent nation. So we must stay the course, for Ukraine's sake and for ours."

Dan De Luce is a reporter for the NBC News Investigative Unit.

Anna Tsybko, Rhoda Kwan, Henry Austin and Associated Press contributed.


Tags

jrDiscussion - desc
[]
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  Vic Eldred    3 weeks ago

The morale of the Russian army must be fairly low right now.

How long can this go on?

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
1.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    2 weeks ago

Putin is coming out on the losing end is because he is largely trying to recreate the glory days of the old Soviet Union in the second half of WW II. He thought he could relive Stalin saying "Quantity has a quality all it's own". The combat tactics and doctrine of that time have changed little since then. Putin did not count on the resolve of the Ukrainian military and general populace fighting on their own home turf against the invading Russian forces. Trying to use what he thought was overwhelming force backfired on him.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @1.1    2 weeks ago
The combat tactics and doctrine of that time have changed little since then.

In the 40's they needed little in the way of tactics. They were blessed by an enormous land mass, a different railroad gauge that Europe's, an enormous population in reserve, the patriotic fervor that comes with a nation being invaded and one of the worst winters in European history. The great red flag for the Wehrmacht was that the German High Command had estimated that Russia had 3 Million men in the Red Army. By the end of 1941 the German Army had already killed or captured 3 Million Russian soldiers and were still fighting an estimated 5 Million Russian soldiers in frigid conditions.


Putin did not count on the resolve of the Ukrainian military and general populace fighting on their own home turf against the invading Russian forces. 

Nor did he consider the training and support the Ukrainian military received from the US. He launched an invasion without prep or planning.


Trying to use what he thought was overwhelming force backfired on him.

The true consequences have yet to be felt.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     3 weeks ago

The vaunted Russian war machine is being demoralized by a much smaller army with less heavy weapon capability and no navy and a tiny air force. The difference is that Ukraine is fighting for its land and freedom with much better military leadership/training and soldiers. The weapons they have are being put to much better use and they are able to make split decisions in battles that the Russians cannot. 

The partisan movement is wreaking havoc in Kershon and Crimea.

Slava Ukraine

 
 
 
shona1
Junior Participates
2.1  shona1  replied to  Kavika @2    2 weeks ago

Morning...plus Ukraine has most of the world backing them and supplying them arms, food, money etc...

Last I heard Ukraine have requested another 40 Bush Masters so they will be sent over.

Even Dumbo Putin must realise now when you have countries as far away as us supplying anything they request it really is a World effort against him.

Go Ukraine..

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Kavika   replied to  shona1 @2.1    2 weeks ago
Last I heard Ukraine have requested another 40 Bush Masters so they will be sent over.

Excellent.

Even tiny North Macedonia, population two million sent them all 31 of their tanks in the last month or so.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
2.1.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  shona1 @2.1    2 weeks ago

Good morning Shona. Those Bushmaster vehicles are pretty awesome! A friend of mine who is a Marine participated in a joint excercise with Australia got the chance to drive a Bush Master and loved it! He said it was a overall superior vehicle to the HMV the USMC had at the time.

 
 
 
shona1
Junior Participates
2.1.3  shona1  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @2.1.2    2 weeks ago

Morning Ed ..yes from all accounts they do seem an excellent vehicle. They were used extensively in Afghanistan and saved many of our troops lives.

They are made here in Victoria about 4 hours away from me. Rather strange to think of them running around over in the Ukraine helping the war effort...have seen at least one blown up but all the troops got out with their lives so they served their purpose well. 🇦🇺🇺🇦

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
3  Greg Jones    2 weeks ago

 "If Russia stops fighting, there will be peace," he said. "If Ukraine stops fighting, it will cease to exist as an independent nation. So we must stay the course, for Ukraine's sake and for ours."

Totally agree. Putin's folly will end with him being deposed by saner heads in Moscow, possibly by years end. He's destroying the motherland.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
4  JBB    2 weeks ago

The Free World is more united than in recent times...

American leadership and resources made it happen.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
5  Nerm_L    2 weeks ago

The Kiev government has about eight weeks to do whatever they're going to do.  We're still stuck with this mess for another nine years.  And it could have been so easily avoided.

Soviets are fighting Soviets so take 'news' reporting with a large dose of salt.  Anything coming out of either government can't be trusted.  Look at how quickly the IAEA inspections fell off the news cycle.  That smoking gun appears to have been a fizzle.  So, move on to the next shiny object.

At some point, someone is going to ask if NATO membership for Ukraine was worth wrecking the global economy.  The enviro-geeks are cheering the reduction of fossil fuels but the price for that is yet to be paid.  Reducing dependence on Russian oil by increasing dependence on Chinese alternatives would seem to be a devil's bargain.  Europe's future looks rather medieval.  We're going see if the EU technocrats assume more power over Europe or get a French haircut.  And there's a real chance we'll end up fighting Germany again; at least diplomatically.  And we already know how effective US diplomacy was in avoiding a regional conflict in Ukraine.  Our diplomatic efforts have turned that regional conflict into a global conflict.  

Cheering Soviet propaganda from either side might be satisfying but won't solve the intransigent problem of eastern Ukraine.  Kicking Russia out of Ukraine won't end the war.  So, everyone better order a truckload of popcorn.  We've got at least nine years to go and we can't back out now.  It's highly likely Ukraine is going to turn into another Syria.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
5.1  JBB  replied to  Nerm_L @5    2 weeks ago

In the BIG GAME of Global Chess Biden has taken Putin's queen. Vladimir might as well concede!

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
5.1.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  JBB @5.1    2 weeks ago

Do you then see the Ukrainians as pawns?

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
5.1.2  JBB  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @5.1.1    2 weeks ago

No, and the Ukrainians wont be Putin's serfs!

Must you always be so goddamn impertinent? 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
5.1.3  Texan1211  replied to  JBB @5.1.2    2 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
5.1.4  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  JBB @5.1.2    2 weeks ago
No, and the Ukrainians wont be Putin's serfs!

So maybe they have something to do with Putin's stalemate as well.

Must you always be so goddamn impertinent? 

What did you find rude in my question?

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
5.2  Thrawn 31  replied to  Nerm_L @5    2 weeks ago
Soviets are fighting Soviets

That isn't happening...

someone is going to ask if NATO membership for Ukraine was worth wrecking the global economy.

There was no NATO membership for Ukraine, it was never even being considered. 

And there's a real chance we'll end up fighting Germany again; at least diplomatically. 

I doubt it. 

And we already know how effective US diplomacy was in avoiding a regional conflict in Ukraine.  Our diplomatic efforts have turned that regional conflict into a global conflict.  

There was never going to be any diplomatic solution. Putin wanted a puppet government in Ukraine, the people in Ukraine by and large did not. 

It's highly likely Ukraine is going to turn into another Syria.

Not it isn't. This isn't a civil war, this is one nation attacking another in a conventional war, pretty much the exact opposite of Syria actually. 

We've got at least nine years to go and we can't back out now.

Russia can't keep this up for 9 years. 

 
 
 
Split Personality
Professor Principal
5.2.1  Split Personality  replied to  Thrawn 31 @5.2    2 weeks ago

Thank you officer Thrawn.  Well said.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
5.2.2  Texan1211  replied to  Thrawn 31 @5.2    2 weeks ago
There was no NATO membership for Ukraine, it was never even being considered. 

So you are claiming that no US President has voiced any support for Ukraine joining NATO?

Alert Obama!

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
5.2.3  Thrawn 31  replied to  Texan1211 @5.2.2    2 weeks ago

What the fuck? What in the hell did you read? [deleted]

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
5.2.4  Texan1211  replied to  Thrawn 31 @5.2.3    2 weeks ago

What did I read? Was me quoting your words insufficient evidence for you of what I read or something?

You claimed there was no NATO membership for Ukraine, it was never even being considered, and I pointed out you were wrong.

...

If you make unfounded, false claims, expect to be corrected.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
5.2.5  Thrawn 31  replied to  Texan1211 @5.2.4    2 weeks ago
You claimed therewas no NATO membership for Ukraine, it was never even being considered, and I pointed out you were wrong.

No, you picked on small example of a single politician supporting NATO membership for Ukraine, even though it was NEVER under any serious consideration from NATO members and had basically been flat out rejected. 

If you make unfounded, false claims, expect to be corrected.

Is that what you call cherry picking the smallest details to try and get in a dig because you have nothing else to say? 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
5.2.6  Texan1211  replied to  Thrawn 31 @5.2.5    2 weeks ago
No, you picked on small example of a single politician supporting NATO membership for Ukraine, even though it was NEVER under any serious consideration from NATO members and had basically been flat out rejected. 

Perhaps it is just that I am astute enough to know that for something-anything-to be rejected, it first must be considered.

Thus proving your statement incorrect.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
5.2.7  Thrawn 31  replied to  Texan1211 @5.2.6    2 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
5.2.8  Texan1211  replied to  Thrawn 31 @5.2.7    2 weeks ago

Keep on making dumbfuck claims and I'll keep shooting them down.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
5.2.9  Thrawn 31  replied to  Texan1211 @5.2.8    2 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
5.2.10  Texan1211  replied to  Thrawn 31 @5.2.9    2 weeks ago

Keep making false claims for me to shoot down

 
 
 
shona1
Junior Participates
5.3  shona1  replied to  Nerm_L @5    2 weeks ago

Morning Nerm.. yes I actually agree taking anything that comes out with a grain of salt..

But we get info from literally boots on the ground..so in this case yes it is happening...I tend to ignore most info on the news until we find out for ourselves..my SIL is from Ukraine and she has family there.

One thing you have to give it to the Ukrainians everyone including myself thought they would be goners in a week...

Here it is 6 months down the track and the battle is still going and certainly not the way Putin thought or planned.

Yes it could have been so easily avoided, if bloody Russia stayed in their own country...but no Putin has visions of grandeur of wanting the old Russian Empire back and go down in history as trying to do it.

And at what cost to his own people and Ukraine.. and it's all Putin's doing...

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
5.3.1  Nerm_L  replied to  shona1 @5.3    2 weeks ago
But we get info from literally boots on the ground..so in this case yes it is happening...I tend to ignore most info on the news until we find out for ourselves..my SIL is from Ukraine and she has family there.

And what, exactly, is happening in Ukraine?  Who is fighting who?  It's a strange strategy to fight an enemy by supplying them with electricity, natural gas, and oil.  It's an odd strategy to avoid attacking supply lines.  It's an incomprehensible strategy to fight a 19th century artillery war.

So, what, exactly, is happening in Ukraine?

One thing you have to give it to the Ukrainians everyone including myself thought they would be goners in a week... Here it is 6 months down the track and the battle is still going and certainly not the way Putin thought or planned.

Here in the states we've heard reports over the years of Russia supplying arms to various middle eastern countries.  But a lot of those arms and munitions were produced in Ukraine.  Ukraine produces advanced weapons.  Ukraine has been selling advanced weapons to anyone that has the jingle.  Our troops have faced Ukrainian weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We have no idea what Putin thought or planned.  Are we supposed to believe that Putin intended to quickly defeat and capture Ukraine without using air power?  Are we really supposed to believe that Putin intended to quickly defeat and capture Ukraine by spreading 150,000 troops across the countryside?  Are we really supposed to believe that Putin intended to topple Kiev and annex Ukraine with artillery duels?  

How quaint.

You know, Russia deployed 2.5 million troops to recapture Crimea (and Ukraine) during World War II.  And we're supposed to believe that Russia was going to repeat that with 150,000 troops on a day excursion?  And without air support?  How magical is that thinking.

Yes it could have been so easily avoided, if bloody Russia stayed in their own country...but no Putin has visions of grandeur of wanting the old Russian Empire back and go down in history as trying to do it.

What changed?  Russia has maintained a presence in Ukraine since the collapse of Soviet Union.  Russia has been a major buyer of Ukrainian produced arms and munitions.  Russia maintained trade relations with Ukraine for materials and commodities for domestic use.  There have been economic and cultural ties between Ukraine and Russia since World War II.  And those ties continued after breakup of the Soviet Union.

So, what changed?  Something upset the balance.  What was the impetus for Russia invading Ukraine now?  If Russia wanted to annex Ukraine then they've adopted some rather strange strategies, as I've noted above.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
5.3.2  Greg Jones  replied to  Nerm_L @5.3.1    2 weeks ago

Whatever....your observations are interesting, but in reality it appears the Russians are having their asses handed to them and are running scared.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5.3.3  JohnRussell  replied to  Nerm_L @5.3.1    2 weeks ago

Overall, it seems rather obvious that Russia never planned for a long war. They seem to have thought the Ukrainian people would welcome them as liberators and the war would be over in weeks if not days. 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
5.3.4  Nerm_L  replied to  JohnRussell @5.3.3    2 weeks ago
Overall, it seems rather obvious that Russia never planned for a long war. They seem to have thought the Ukrainian people would welcome them as liberators and the war would be over in weeks if not days. 

I dunno.  Russia seems to have held back the bulk of its military.  Russia may have been planning for a war of attrition all along.  Perhaps a lesson from Afghanistan.  Russia's only real interest in Ukraine seems to be Crimea.  And Russia's economic ties with Ukraine was almost exclusively with eastern Ukraine and not western Ukraine.  Russia seems to have avoided attempting to make a connection with the break away region in Moldova on Ukraine's western border which would seem to be attractive if Russia was wanting to annex Ukraine entirely.

The idea that Russia expected to be greeted as liberators is certainly a possibility.  But that idea doesn't jive with the prior eight years of war in the Donbas region.  The Kiev government certainly displayed a willingness to fight and had committed to a prolonged war in Donbas.  Russia shouldn't have been surprised by sanctions, either, since that was the response to annexation of Crimea.

One important change was that the United States began supplying arms to the Kiev government in 2019.  That change indicated the United States was interested in internal Ukrainian affairs; perhaps for strategic reasons.  Subsequent moves by the United States (and Europe) to address internal corruption in Ukraine and meddle in the Ukrainian government was a further escalation suggesting that NATO was planning to absorb Ukraine.  The United States and NATO did appear to be grooming Ukraine for NATO and EU membership.  NATO expanding into Ukraine would pose a threat to the internal stability of Russia.

Another possibility to consider is that Russia threatened Ukraine as a prelude to negotiations with the United States and the EU.  The EU had become a trading partner with Russia but both the United States and EU were ignoring Russia's concerns.  The EU was getting what it wanted but Russia was not.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
5.3.5  Thrawn 31  replied to  Nerm_L @5.3.1    2 weeks ago
nd what, exactly, is happening in Ukraine?  Who is fighting who?  It's a strange strategy to fight an enemy by supplying them with electricity, natural gas, and oil.  It's an odd strategy to avoid attacking supply lines.  It's an incomprehensible strategy to fight a 19th century artillery war.

Simple, th4e Russians still think they can take Ukraine and make it a part of Russia. They do not understand that they are loosing. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
6  Kavika     2 weeks ago

Russia Confirms Flight of Troops From Ukraine’s Kharkiv Region

Bloomberg News   -   1h ago

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
6.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Kavika @6    2 weeks ago
 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
6.1.2  Kavika   replied to  Split Personality @6.1.1    2 weeks ago

Russian paratrooper who wrote a detailed account of the war in Ukraine described clueless commanders, ransacking for food, and entire troops killed by friendly fire

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Expert
6.1.4  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @6.1.2    2 weeks ago

A very sad very story to be sure. Putin's craving for world dominance with, obviously, only a small portion of his brain working, and his equally disregard for the lives of his military personnel, as well as lack of well trained Commanders, most of whom are mere fodder for the grist mill as far as he is concerned, speaks to how far Russia has fallen under Putin's reign. 

Hopefully, the people in Russia will learn the truth behind Putin's unwarranted and unprovoked war on Ukraine and Its innocent people, and put Putin where he belongs for what days he has left. But, how many more lives on both sides will it take for that to happen. Sadly, far too many more.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
7  Drinker of the Wry    2 weeks ago

Thanks, I hadn't seen that yet.

As much as I want Russia to lose and lose big, I can't help but to feel sorry for many Russian soldiers forced to fight in unjust war, with inadequate equipment and supplies and inept and uncaring leadership.   They are in a loose, loose, loose proposition with no Canada to easily run to.  

 
 
 
squiggy
Sophomore Quiet
7.1  squiggy  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @7    2 weeks ago

"...they’re unhappy with the minister of defence, who has never served in the army,”"

Yea. That'll do it.

 
 

Who is online

Gazoo
Ender
Ed-NavDoc


27 visitors