For the first time since February 24, Ukraine launched a full-fledged counteroffensive. The results are still silent, but they will change the course of the war. Our analysis of the situation at the front lines

Oleksiy Yarmolenko
Tetyana Lohvynenko
For the first time since February 24, Ukraine launched a full-fledged counteroffensive. The results are still silent, but they will change the course of the war. Our analysis of the situation at the front lines

Ukrainian soldiers fire artillery in Donbas, June 15, 2022.

Getty Images / «Babel'»

The Ukrainian military launched a major counteroffensive for the first time since the start of the full-scale invasion. Since August 29, intense fighting has been going on in the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are trying to knock the Russians out of their positions. The General Staff urges not to spread information about the progress of the operation and promises to tell about the results after completion. The Russian army is preparing to introduce the Third Army Corps into battle, however, both Ukrainian and Western intelligence assure that this will not change the situation at the front. As for the offensive of the occupiers, during the last ten days they are advancing even more slowly than before.

The Russians formed and began to transfer their Third Army Corps closer to the borders of Ukraine. The Russian army regarded this powerful military group as a strategic reserve. It began to be formed in the village of Mulino in the Nizhny Novgorod region already after the invasion started, and is now being moved from there closer to the Ukrainian borders, in particular to the Rostov region.

The Third Army Corps received modern Russian equipment, but there are questions about the quality and number of people there. The corps itself is mostly made up of volunteers from Russian regions, as well as members of private military companies and convicted Russians who have been recruited to go fight in exchange for large payments and possible amnesty. So far, investigators have spotted vehicles of the Third Corps in the Rostov region. It can be involved in the fighting both in Donbas and in the south of Ukraine, in particular in the Kherson region. Usually, there are about 15,000 people in the corps, but both Ukrainian and Western intelligence say that there is no such number and that this corps will not be able to fundamentally change the situation on the battlefield.

September is approaching, when the Russians allegedly planned to hold "referendums" in the occupied territories. However, neither the Kremlin nor Russian collaborators have yet officially announced any likely date for the pseudo-voting. Obviously, the Russians will not be able to capture the entire Donetsk region in September, and active battles have begun in the Kherson region, the outcome of which is currently unknown. The Russian publication Verstka, citing sources in the Kremlin, wrote that the Russian authorities want to hold "referendums" on September 14, but so far only in the occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. However, even this is not certain, since everything will depend on the situation at the front. Local collaborators were ordered to always be ready for possible pseudo-voting. As for the occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Kharkiv regions, the idea of holding "referendums" there in September has so far been abandoned.

Kharkiv region

In Kharkiv region, shelling continues along the entire front line, but the troops hardly move. The main efforts of the Russians are to advance in the south of the region, on the border with the Donetsk region, and get closer to Slovyansk. They have no success in this.

Russian troops are trying to approach Kharkiv from the north. They are trying to advance in the area of Dementiiivka and Borshchova villages, but without success. The Russians tried to advance to the west of the village of Kozacha Lopan, but also to no avail.

On August 14, the Ministry of Defense of Russia reported that the village of Udy in the Zolochiv community had been captured. However, the Russians did not publish any photo or video confirmations from there. Now pro-Russian Telegram channels have published one video where the occupiers are really in Udy. But when exactly it was made and whether the Russians were able to gain a foothold in the village is unknown. In local chats, the community assures that Udy is currently under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, although fighting has really been going on there for several weeks.

There was no serious activity in the rest of the directions. The occupiers only tried to advance in the Slovyansk direction to the city of Slovyansk itself, as well as to the town of Barvinkove. Here, the front actually extends from the village of Velyka Komyshuvakha to the village of Bogorodychne in the Donetsk region through Dmytrivka, Brazhkivka, Sulygivka and Dovgenke. The General Staff reported that over the past ten days, the Russians have tried to advance on Brazhkivka several times, and therefore, they do not control this village. As for Sulygivka and Dovgenke, the front passes along the southern outskirts of the villages. All attempts by the Russians to advance were repulsed by the Ukrainian military.



The Russian army continues to shell populated areas almost throughout the territory controlled by Ukraine. The occupiers are trying to advance in all directions, but they have hardly achieved any results in the last ten days.

In the direction of Slovyansk, the Russian army is still skidding in the Kharkiv region, and attempts to advance to Bogorodychne and Dolyna have ended in nothing.

Also, on August 25, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported on the battle with the occupiers in the village of Staryi Karavan. It is located on the left bank of the Siverskyi Donets River — it has actually divided the front since the beginning of summer. There are two options as to how the collision could have happened there: either Ukrainian scouts ran into the invaders on the other side of the river, or the Russians tried to set up a pontoon crossing across the Siverskyi Donets in the area of this village.

In the direction of the city of Siversk, the Russians have also not achieved success in the last ten days. They tried to make their way along the river Siverskyi Donets to the village of Serebryanka east of Siversk or from the side of the village of Spirne southeast of Siversk. But the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled these attempts.

The occupiers want to surround Bakhmut and cut off communication routes. But they almost stopped in the advance from the east and south to the city. In Soledar, the Russians still control only the KNAUF factory and the nearby streets, they also stopped at the outskirts of Bakhmut from the side of the village of Pokrovske. Telegram channels associated with the "Vagner PMC", whose mercenaries operate in this direction, say that they allegedly stopped on purpose, as they are waiting for other Russian units to break through the defense lines of the Armed Forces south of the city along the line between the villages of Zaitseve and Kodem.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that the Russiansʼ attempt to attack these two villages had failed. However, on August 28, the "Wagner" channels published a video on which it was possible to establish the geolocation of the place — the village of Kodema. It is currently unknown whether the Russians were able to gain a foothold in this settlement. In addition, the positions of the Armed Forces are located on the heights near Kodema, from which the village is completely shelled. Most likely, it can fall into the "gray" zone, when neither Ukrainian nor Russian troops will be here — because the occupiers will be under constant fire, and the Ukrainian military will have a disadvantageous position in the village itself.

If the occupiers take Codema, it will open up an opportunity for them to cut the road between Bakhmut and the village of Zaitseve and the former checkpoint "Mayorske" — a powerful fortified area since 2014. However, Ukrainian forces will be able to receive supplies across the road from Toretsk.

The occupiers continue to advance along the western outskirts of Donetsk — from Avdiivka to Maryinka. But all their attempts to advance are repulsed by the Ukrainian military. The Russians tried to bypass Avdiivka from the north and tried to break through the industrial zone in the south. Both actions ended in failure.

The occupiers are trying to press the villages of Vodyane and Opytne north of the Donetsk airport runway. The Armed Forces successfully repulse the attacks of the Russian army. Over the past few days, the village of Pisky has almost disappeared from the lists of the General Staff. This may indicate that Ukraine has lost control over it. However, the occupiers themselves continue to publish on their Telegram channels videos of strikes on the positions of the Armed Forces near Pisky. Therefore, a small part of the village is either still under the control of the Ukrainian army, or has moved into the "gray" zone.

The occupiers are also trying to advance to the village of Nevelske and immediately launch an attack from two sides on the village of Pervomaiske beyond Pisky. So far, they have no results in this direction. Fighting for Maryinka is also still going on.

The Russians tried to advance towards Ugledar, but failed. Attacks on the village of Pavlivka and other villages along the road Velika Novosilka — Vugledar are successfully repelled by the Ukrainian military.



Zaporizhzhia region and Kherson region

The front line in the Zaporizhzhia region remains unchanged. Both sides continue mutual shelling, and offensives, if they do occur, are very minor and non-public. At the same time, the Russians actively continue shelling the civilian infrastructure of Zaporozhye and other cities in the region.

Resistance forces are actively working in the occupied part of the Zaporizhia region, in particular in Melitopol. Over the past ten days, almost every day, the people of Melitopol have heard strikes on the bases of Russian troops, Russian collaborators and headquarters are being blown up in the city.

The most "unlucky" recently was Mykhailivtsi of the Vasyliv district. On August 23, a local collaborator, Ivan Sushka, was blown up there — he agreed to become the "head" of the village. Sushko died during the explosion. And within a few days, the local "chief of the police" Andriy Ryzhkov was found hanged.

The situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is worsening every day. The Russians continue to shell its territory and blame Ukraine for this. On the twenty-fifth of August, for the first time in history, due to Russian shelling, the Zaporizhzhya NPP was completely de- energized. This is extremely dangerous: the reactors stop cooling, and a nuclear accident can occur. However, Energoatom reported on the restoration of power supply the very next day. And on August 29, the Russians hit almost the closest thing to the reactor — literally the roof of a nearby building. The occupiers traditionally blamed Ukraine, but the volunteers analyzed the impact and the hole from the shell and concluded that it came from the side of Russian troops.

The IAEA mission arrived at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. There they formed a team of experts mainly from neutral countries. It was headed by the head of the IAEA, Raphael Grossi. The experts planned to get to the station on August 31 and stay there for several days, but the Russians allowed only one day. They also created obstacles for the missionʼs visit, in particular, they refused to provide IAEA members with special passes for faster crossing of the front line in the Zaporizhzhia region.

On September 1, the IAEA mission did reach the Zaporizhzhia NPP. However, in the morning, the Russians massively shelled the city of Energodar, and the Russian Ministry of Defense announced an alleged attempt by the Ukrainian army to land across the Dnipro River to "capture the station and the city." But the Russian military "successfully repelled this attempt." Most likely, this is how the Russians tried to create the maximum amount of damage and accusations against the Armed Forces in order to tell about it to the IAEA mission and show the consequences of the shelling.

At the beginning of August, the Russians transferred reinforcements to the Kherson region and began local offensives. They captured the village of Blagodatne west of Snigurivka, but could not advance further. In this section, the front line actually serves as a railway, along which an irrigation canal has also been built. Such obstacles make it very difficult for the occupiers to advance. The Russians also tried to advance on the villages of Tavriyske west of Kherson and Potemkine south of Kryvyi Rih. Both attempts failed.

Ukrainian troops continued to attack the bridges across the Dnipro. Because of this, the Russians actually had to stop using them. The occupiers began to build a pontoon crossing under the Antoniv bridge from barges stolen on the Dnieper and almost finished it, but it was also attacked by the armed forces.

And on August 29, Ukrainian troops launched a large-scale counteroffensive in many directions at once. The Operational Command "South" confirmed this and emphasized that they would not talk about the course of the operation. Meanwhile, Russian Telegram channels actively write about the alleged "failures of the Armed Forces", although they themselves confirm the loss of their positions in certain directions.

This operation is actually the first full-fledged counteroffensive of the Ukrainian military since February 24 and an attempt to defeat the Russians on the battlefield by force. It is obvious that the main goal for them will be the liberation of the entire right-bank bridgehead of the occupiers, but what exactly is the purpose of this operation and what will be its results, the General Staff promises to tell after its completion. If the counteroffensive is successful and the Russian army suffers a serious defeat, it can completely turn the tide of the war.

On August 28, information appeared about the death of Peopleʼs Deputy and collaborator Oleksiy Kovalev. He came to the occupied Kherson region after the start of the full-scale invasion and even got a position in the local "government". In June, they already tried to liquidate him — they blew up his car, but then he survived. The second attempt was successful — Kovalev was shot in his house.




Over the past ten days, the situation in Crimea has hardly changed. Air defense also worked significantly less and allegedly "shot down Ukrainian drones." In particular, on August 26 and 30, the Russians reported on the operation of air defense in occupied Sevastopol. Also, on August 26, the systems worked in occupied Yevpatoria.

Supply of weapons

Partners are providing weapons to Ukraine more and more slowly. Although in the fall, when Western politicians return from vacation, more activity can be expected. In particular, another meeting in the Rammstein format has already been announced in the USA on September 8.

Also, on Ukraineʼs Independence Day, the USA announced the allocation of a record-breaking military aid package to the Ukrainian army — $3 billion. It will include six more NASAMS air defense systems, as well as 250,000 shells for artillery and mortars. The USA emphasized that Ukraine will receive these weapons after a certain time, when they will be manufactured, and not purchased from someone or taken from warehouses. These systems, as well as two other NASAMS, which the US announced back in July, and the German IRIS-T air defense systems of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will close the sky over most Ukrainian cities.

In the near future, most likely, combat aircraft will arrive in Ukraine. We are talking about Slovakian MiG-29s, whose service life ends on August 31. How Ukraine will use them depends on the condition of these planes — it will be assessed by Ukrainian experts. They will be able to either modernize them and transfer them to the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, or use them as "donors of spare parts". Slovakia agreed with the USA on the delivery of Western aircraft, and until they are handed over, the skies over this country will be protected by Poland and the Czech Republic. The Minister of Defense of Slovakia, Yaroslav Nagy, emphasized that there is a political will to transfer aircraft to Ukraine, but they want to receive either other aircraft or compensation. Whether the MiG-29 will be handed over to Ukraine will depend on this.

Great Britain and Norway will also transfer to Ukraine a batch of small Teledyne Flir Black Hornet drones for short-range reconnaissance. The target detection range is up to a kilometer. Such drones are intended for war, in particular, in cities: with them you can look around a corner or behind a wall. The fact that such drones are handed over to the Ukrainian army shows that they help our country prepare for urban battles in densely built-up areas or to clear certain buildings (for example, administrative ones) from invaders.

The US also plans to officially create a mission in Ukraine that will be responsible for the material support and training of the military. This is an important point: if the Pentagon has announced a full-fledged mission to train the Ukrainian military, this means a long-term project to build and rearm the Ukrainian army. The mission will also involve many American troops. Similar US missions have already been conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan — "Iraqi Freedom" and "Unbreakable Freedom", respectively.

We monitor the situation at the front every day. You can support "Babel" at any time, and now too:

🔸 in hryvnia

🔸 in cryptocurrency

🔸 Patreon

🔸 PayPal: [email protected]

A Ukrainian military man rests on the Grad rocket launcher in Donbas, July 19, 2022.

Getty Images / «Babel'»