The front is preparing for winter: Ukraine and Russia want to make progress before the frost hits. We analyze the situation at the front on the 250th day of the full-scale invasion — with maps

Oleksiy Yarmolenko
Tetyana Lohvynenko
The front is preparing for winter: Ukraine and Russia want to make progress before the frost hits. We analyze the situation at the front on the 250th day of the full-scale invasion — with maps

Ukrainian troops fire from "Grads" at the positions of the Russian occupiers near Bakhmut, October 28, 2022.

Getty Images / «Babel'»

Bad weather and cold are already beginning to affect events at the front: it is extremely difficult for both sides to conduct large-scale offensive actions. However, Ukraine continues to put pressure on the Luhansk region and the Kherson region, and the Russians do not stop trying to push Ukrainian troops away from Donetsk and surround Bakhmut. Also, the occupiers continue to massively attack Ukraineʼs energy facilities in order to demoralize civilians, although this has the opposite effect.

During the last ten days, the Russians continued to attack the Ukrainian energy system. Realizing that it is extremely difficult to destroy power plants, they targeted electrical substations to complicate the process of power transmission. Due to such strikes, Ukrainian state electricity operator Ukrenergo had to implement even stricter restrictions on electricity consumption, but already on October 29 and 30, the outages almost stopped. On the morning of October 31, the Russians again launched a massive attack on Ukraine. This time, hydroelectric plants came under fire, and blackouts resumed. Despite all these uncomfortable conditions for the lives of civilians in the rear and interruptions for businesses that bear losses due to unstable work, events at the front are not affected by such strikes. The Russians continue to spend their expensive and difficult-to-renew stocks of high-precision weapons on civilian rather than military targets.

The war continues in the information space as well. Thus, on October 22-23, the Russians began to accuse Ukraine of preparing to detonate a “dirty bomb”. It can be any explosive container filled with radioactive substances. After detonation, they disperse and infect large areas. The creation of a “dirty bomb” is an exclusively terrorist measure — it has no military meaning.

It all started with reports from the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti with reference to “reliable sources”. The accusations could have remained only in the propaganda space if the Russian authorities had not raised them to the international level. During the weekend of October 22-23, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu called the defense ministers of Turkey, France, Great Britain, and the United States and told them about the “dirty bomb”. In a few days, this baton was taken over by the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation, Valeriy Gerasimov. However, the West reacted sharply to such accusations: the agencies of the USA, Britain, and France emphasized in their press releases that their defense ministers rejected any accusations of Russia and said that the Russian Federation could be preparing an information basis for its own provocation. Subsequently, the three countries issued a joint statement in which they emphasized this point once again. Then Russiaʼs statements about the “dirty bomb”, despite the release of various “new data”, began to gradually disappear from the information space.

Ukraine reacted promptly and invited the IAEA to inspect nuclear facilities to make sure that no “dirty bombs” were being created here. The Agency approved the request and will come to Ukraine this week for an inspection.

In Russia, on October 28, it was announced that the “partial mobilization” was about to end. Shoigu publicly reported to Putin: as requested, 300,000 Russians were mobilized for the war. He also stated that 218,000 men are training at the training grounds, while 82,000 men are already in Ukraine. That is, almost a third of Russians were thrown to the front without any preparation: from the start of mobilization only a month has passed. Shoigu even gave the exact number — 41,000 people are already participating in hostilities. Therefore, the Kremlin used at least part of the mobilized to very quickly close the holes at the front. Judging by the videos of captured mobilized people published on social networks, unprepared Russians were sent mainly to the Luhansk region for the defense of Svatove and Kreminna.

Meanwhile, conflicts within the leadership of the troops are intensifying in Russia. They are becoming more and more open, and the head of Wagner private military company Yevgeniy Prigozhin and the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov do not hesitate to criticize the Russian army and its leadership even more harshly. And on October 29, this public conflict reached unprecedented heights — the Russian mass media reported that the commander of the Center group, Russian General Aleksandr Lapin, had been removed from his post. He led the defense of Lyman in the Donetsk region, as well as Svatove and Kreminna in the Luhansk region. Before Lapinʼs removal, Kadyrov wrote a post in his Telegram in which he mercilessly criticized the general. Many Russian Telegram channels took the side of the Russian military, but Lapin was still removed. This shows that Kadyrov and Prigozhin are beginning to gain serious political weight against the background of the general failures of the Russian army and can almost become an alternative military leadership, which will inevitably lead to a split in the elites. In addition, both Kadyrov and Prigozhin actually have their own paramilitary units, so this could create a serious problem for the Putin regime.

Kharkiv region

Ukrainian troops are gradually expanding the zone of control to the east of the city of Kupyansk. In the last 10 days, it became known about the final liberation of the village of Petropavlivka. In the area of the village of Dvorichne, fighting continues: here, neither Ukraine nor Russia has apparently made any progress. The Russians declared that they allegedly recaptured the village of Horobyivka already on the left bank of the Oskil River, but as usual, without any evidence.

The heaviest fighting continues on the administrative border of the Kharkiv and Luhansk regions, especially along the R-07 road from Kupyansk to the city of Svatove. Ukrainian troops are trying to completely knock out the Russians from the square, where many villages are densely located: Ivanivka, Kyslivka, Kotlyarivka, Yahidne, Orlyanske, and Zatyshne. It seems very likely that the Russians have set up well-fortified positions in this area, using small forests, residential houses of the locals, and a railway station.

If the Ukrainian troops liberate the area, they will be able to move further east towards the Luhansk region, especially towards the village of Nyzhnia Duvanka. It is important because itʼs located on the road between the village of Troitske and the city of Svatove. The last railway branch from Russia passes through Troitske, which is located near the Russian border. This allows supplying the occupiers in the north of the Luhansk region.



The fiercest battles on the entire front line are taking place in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Ukrainian troops are trying to advance on the cities of Svatove and Kreminna in the Luhansk region, and the Russians are continuing their efforts to surround Bakhmut in the Donetsk region and push the Ukrainian Defense Forces away from the western suburbs of Donetsk.

On October 24, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine officially reported that the Russians had been pushed out of the villages of Karmazynivka, Myasozharivka, and Nevske in the Luhansk region and from Novosadove in the Donetsk region. Between some of these villages and the R-66 road connecting Svatove and Kreminna, there were no settlements left. Therefore, it is now much easier for the Ukrainian army to physically cut this route and make it difficult to provide supplies for the Russian troops in the area.

The fighting here continues along the Zherebets River, with both sides constantly trying to attack and counterattack. This is how Ukrainians and Russians try to exhaust each other and advance further. The Russians aim to push the Ukrainian Defense Forces away from the R-66 road, and the Ukrainians aim to take it under complete control.

On October 28, the head of the Luhansk regional administration, Serhiy Gaidai, said that Ukrainian troops “effectively control” the R-66 road, but the spokesman of the East operational command immediately explained that it was just about fire control. That is, the Ukrainian army is firing all the way, but it has not yet physically established itself on the road.

Russian Telegram channels are also not too optimistic about this part of the front. They write about constant fighting in the area of the villages of Chervonopopivka and Pishchane, located on the R-66 road. In addition, there are convenient heights for a further attack on Kreminna from two sides: from the west and the north.

Fighting continues on the administrative border of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions on the right (southern) bank of the Siversky Donets river. The Russians are trying to restore lost positions in the area of the village of Bilogorivka. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported on October 22 that the attack of the invaders on the village of Zolotarivka, Luhansk region, was repulsed. Before that, there was no information about his settlement, so it can be assumed that it is not completely controlled by either Ukraine or Russia. Fighting for the village of Spirne near the Bakhmut-Lysychansk road is also ongoing.

There is also very fierce fighting going on around Bakhmut: here, the Russians are attacking massively every day to take the city at least semi-encircled. But it seems that the offensive potential of Wagner, which is leading the attacks, is starting to run out. The Russians have not made any confirmed advances in the past 10 days. Instead, the Ukrainian army conducted several local counterattacks and pushed back the positions of the occupiers by several kilometers. Specifically, in the eastern part of Bakhmut, where the Wagnerians were able to enter the outskirts of the city along Patrice Lumumba Street. It seems that the Defense Forces of Ukraine pushed them beyond the borders of Bakhmut towards the village of Pokrovske.

The Russians are not abandoning their attempts to advance along the western suburbs of Donetsk — from Avdiivka to Maryinka. The occupiers couldnʼt achieve any success almost anywhere, but they advanced a little north of the Donetsk airport towards the villages of Vodyane and Opytne. First, they reached the Donetsk Bypass Road, and now, it seems, they have already reached the outskirts of both villages. At least social networks already have videos published of how their equipment moves here. If the Russians capture these villages, Avdiivka will be surrounded on three sides.

There are also no confirmed changes on the line between the city of Vuhledar and the village of Velyka Novosilka. However, on the morning of October 29, reports began to appear on Russian Telegram channels that the occupiers were en masse advancing on the village of Pavlivka, located south of Vuhledar. This village was liberated by the Ukrainian military back in the summer. The Russians claimed that they broke through the Ukrainian positions and reached the southern outskirts of the village. On the thirtieth of October, they already said that they were able to capture part of the village and that the fighting was continuing there. However, there is no evidence or confirmation of this.



Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions

The front line on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia region has not changed since the spring. Here, Ukraine and Russia are conducting artillery duels and are not trying to advance.

The advance of Ukrainian troops in the Kherson region has also slowed down considerably. After the breakthrough of the Russian defense at the beginning of October, the Defense Forces of Ukraine did not have any serious successes. The landscape of southern Ukraine is quite difficult for an offensive, as there are steppes and the territory is too open for the enemy. Now the rains have washed away the soil, and troops can actually move only on asphalted roads. This is confirmed by the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov.

The Russians continued to evacuate civilians from the right bank of the Kherson region. The occupying authorities announced on October 28 that the evacuation had been completed and that all those willing had left. But even according to their data, half of the people in Kherson and the surrounding villages refused to leave, even though they were constantly intimidated by the offensive of the Ukrainian army and the fact that the armed forces were allegedly preparing to shell residential areas. Many shops and pharmacies are closed, and the “black rate” of the Russian ruble in Kherson has fallen sharply. In some places, locals stopped accepting Russian rubles at all, which outraged collaborators and propagandists. This indirectly confirms that pro-Russian sentiment in the city is weak.

It is still unknown what exactly the occupiersʼ plan is, but the Ukrainian authorities do not believe in the retreat of Russian troops. The information coming from there is contradictory. On the one hand, OSINT researchers see abandoned Russian positions on satellite images that no longer have equipment. On the other hand, the Russians are transferring additional forces, especially mobilized ones, to the right bank of the Kherson region. They are preparing fortifications in Kherson itself, digging trenches, and are not retreating anywhere yet. The Ukrainian authorities believe that all this is an informational and psychological operation of the occupiers. Although the head of the Defense Intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, assures that Ukraine will release Kherson by the end of November.




On the morning of October 29, explosions rang out at the base of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. The occupation authorities reported a massive strike by sea surface and aerial drones. According to them, all the drones were destroyed, but later it turned out that this was not true. In the middle of the day, videos of surface drones began to appear on social networks, showing them reaching Russian warships.

The volunteer group GeoConfirmed analyzed the published videos and came to the conclusion that drones hit at least three ships of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation. The drones struck the Admiral Hryhorovych-class frigate, of which there are currently only two in the Black Sea: Admiral Makarov and Admiral Essen. Analysts believe that Admiral Makarov was hit. These ships have Caliber cruise missiles on board, which have been repeatedly launched over the territory of Ukraine. The drone also crashed into the minesweeper Ivan Golubets. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, this ship received “minor” damage. It is not yet known what became the third target because before the impact, the drone turned sharply. According to analysts, in general, six surface drones were able to break through the defenses of the Sevastopol harbor, and two more were destroyed by the Russians.

In response to this attack, the Russians announced their withdrawal from the “grain agreement”. For the second month now, Ukraine has been saying that Russia is creating artificial obstacles for the export of agricultural products from Ukraine across the sea. In particular, in Turkey, where the Russians inspect ships, they have already deliberately created a queue of over a hundred tankers. Putin himself, several times in his public speeches, expressed dissatisfaction with the “grain agreement” and manipulated figures that Ukraine allegedly supplies most of the grain to the EU countries and not to the poor countries of Africa and Asia. The “grain agreement” gave a serious impetus to the Ukrainian economy, and it is currently unknown how much it will affect the revenues of the Ukrainian budget. Also, Ukraine is now actively putting pressure on the West to force Russia to return to fulfilling its obligations or to secure cargo tankers with the help of NATO warships in the Black Sea.

Weapons supply

The US traditionally announces at least one package of military aid every 10 days. The Pentagon published the list on October 28. There are no new positions in it; now, the States are focusing on ensuring that the Ukrainian army has a sufficient amount of ammunition for the war. Therefore, the $275 million package included ammunition for HIMARS, 500 high-precision 155 mm artillery shells, two thousand 155 mm rounds of remote anti-armor mine systems (RAAM), 125 HMMWV military vehicles, and much more.

Also, the USA clarified the terms of delivery of the first NASAMS air defense systems to Ukraine. According to Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, they should arrive in early November. Currently, the Ukrainian military is training to use these systems.

The Ukrainian army also received new equipment from Germany. The most important thing is two more MARS II multiple rocket launcher systems, as well as four Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled artillery units. In addition, Ukraine received five Bergepanzer 2 repair armored vehicles (their total number in the Ukrainian Armed Forces increased to 10), seven heavy and medium bridge systems, 167 thousand cartridges, 100 tents, 183 electric generators, as well as winter clothes.

Even tanks were sent to Ukraine from Europe — but still not of Western design. The agreement between Slovenia and Germany on the supply of M-55S tanks was set back in mid-September, but now they have gone to Ukraine. The M-55S is a deep modernization of the old Soviet tank T-55, which was produced in the 1950s and 70s. The M-55S is equipped with a 105 mm gun with a heat jacket, active armor, and an improved fire control system.

Another important event is that Ukraine announced the creation of a new serious military product for the first time since the beginning of the invasion. It is the reconnaissance drone SHARK. This drone has secure encrypted communication and a camera with 30x optical zoom and additional digital zoom. The drone can penetrate into the enemyʼs rear at a distance of up to 60 km and conduct surveillance at a distance of up to 5 km. The cruising speed is 70-90 km/h, and the maximum speed is 150 km/h. The manufacturer, Ukrspetssystems, says that its most important feature is resistance to electronic warfare. Such a drone can adjust the operation of long-range systems in the Ukrainian army, in particular HIMARS.

Translated from Ukrainian by Olya Panchenko and Anton Semyzhenko.

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Ukrainian military aircraft operates over Bakhmut in the Donetsk region on October 28, 2022.

Getty Images / «Babel'»