Ukrainian forces continue counter-offensive operations in eastern Ukraine, increasing pressure on Russian positions and logistics lines in eastern Kharkiv, northern Luhansk and eastern Donetsk regions, according to a September 15 report by analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
ISW, citing a Russian source, writes that Ukrainian forces deploy bases and artillery positions throughout Kharkiv region, including in Hrianykivka on the east bank of the Oskil River near the P79 highway, and Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance groups cross the Oskil River from time to time in unidentified areas. In addition, Ukrainian troops continued counter-offensive operations in eastern Ukraine, creating conditions for penetration deep into the Russian rear in the east of Kharkiv and west of Luhansk regions. A Russian source claimed that Ukrainian forces drove Russian troops out of Sosnove on the northern bank of the Siversky Donets River, and Russian troops may have withdrawn from Studenok immediately west of Sosnove to avoid encirclement.
“Russian forces in eastern Ukraine will likely struggle to hold their defensive lines if Ukrainian forces continue to push farther east,” the report says.
Ukrainian forces reportedly struck rear areas in occupied Luhansk region, including Lysychansk, Svitlodarsk, Perevalsk, and Kadiyivka. In turn, Russian troops carried out limited ground attacks and are strengthening their positions on the eastern axis, in particular, the Russian Federation has strengthened its positions in the city of Lyman, Donetsk region, ISW reported.
The Institute for the Study of War notes that there is no official confirmation that Ukrainian forces liberated the village of Kyselivka northwest of Kherson, but they reported that the Russians had mined roads in the village. “Ukrainian officials did not report changes in Russian troop composition, but social media footage showed a Tuva region flag in Beryslav, which likely indicates that Russian forces are continuing to reinforce northern Kherson Oblast with regionally formed volunteer units,” the report says.
Occupation officials and bloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces had landed on the Kinburn Spit.
The Kremlin is responding to the defeat around Kharkiv region by doubling down on crypto mobilization rather than creating conditions for general mobilization. “Kremlin officials and state media had not previously made country-wide recruitment calls but had instead tasked local officials and outlets to generate forces ostensibly on their own initiative… The Kremlin has likely abandoned its efforts to shield select federal subjects from recruitment drives, which may increase social tensions… Several groups in the republics of Buryatia, Kalmykia, Tyva, and Yakytia [Republic of Sakha] are publicly opposed to the Kremlin’s emphasis on recruitment on an ethnic basis,” the report says.
“The Kremlin has almost certainly drained a large proportion of the forces originally stationed in Russian bases in former Soviet states since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February, likely weakening Russian influence in those states,” ISW says.