Following a relative lull in ground fighting yesterday, intense battles were fought around several major cities on day eight. The Ukrainian Army appears to have launched a partially-successful counterattack to the north of Kiev.
There appears to have been a Ukrainian counterattack against Russian forces holding Hostomel airport. Footage on the ground and statements by public officials appear to indicate some success, with conflicting reports claiming that the airport is still contested or in Ukrainian hands. The famous An-225 Mriya, an enormous aeroplane, was also destroyed in the fighting. The district of Bucha has been retaken by Ukrainian forces in this assault, though fighting on the outskirts is ongoing; some reports indicate that a Russian counterattack may be taking place overnight.
The demonstrated ability to make effective counterattacks against a Russian military which is experiencing severe logistics and maintenance problems will be a significant morale boost for Ukrainian forces.
Chayka airport in the southwest of Kiev has been bombarded by Russian forces. A chemical plant apparently caught fire after shelling, resulting in huge plumes of black smoke.
A 3M-14T/K Kalibr missile landed in the south district of Kiev, allegedly neutralised by air defences. It has been misreported as a the more modern Iskander missile, presumably for morale purposes.
Several dozen civilians appear to have been killed as a result of Russian shelling near the city centre. An armoured advance by Russian units, likely to the east of the city, was destroyed by the Ukrainian Army. Top-attack mode NLAWs or Javelins used judging by the damage to the top of the tanks.
A TOS loader was captured east of the city. This is part of the TOS multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), and a relatively rare find among the detritus of abandoned vehicles littering the Ukrainian countryside.
The damage caused to apartment blocks by Russian shelling was filmed here, with some of the blasts allegedly caught on dashcam.
Action in the areas surrounding Kharkiv continued as the Russians attempt to infiltrate behind the city and cut off its supply routes. A power station and railway were destroyed in a strike near Okhtyrka, while sporadic shelling of Kharkiv itself continued. Reports indicate shelling of Izium at 90 minute intervals, which may indicate the practical reload time of whatever weapons system is being used to perform the shelling. Isium lies on a main road leading southeast of the city and presumably supplies the Ukrianian forces in East Donbas.
An abandoned Ukrainian tank and several IFVs were recorded by separatist forces today, while a Russian convoy was destroyed near Sumy with one T-80 tank captured.
Ukrainian territorial defence blew up a Russian ammunition truck using an RPG in Poltava Oblast. This appears to be significantly ahead of the believed ‘front’ of the conflict, and supports our recent speculation that scattered Russian units are operating in advance of the main forces.
An airstrike on Korotych airfield in Kharkiv led to the destruction of a Ukrainian surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, pictured here.
Ukrainian Ministry of Interior admits that Mariupol is cut off and surrounded. The city does not appear to have fallen today. Presumably due to power being cut off, footage of fighting is relatively scarce and the scenes of damage do not necessarily indicate ground fighting as opposed to shelling. Large fires in Mariupol shopping centre and scenes of destruction in residential areas testify to the intensity of the action.
This footage of a large explosion in the vicinity of a fire may indicate an ammunition explosion.
The following footage appears to show a protest in Primorsk, a coastal town between Berdyansk and Melitopol that’s currently occupied by Russian forces. Protesters are parading through the town with Ukrainian flags.
Just south of Zaporizhzhia, Russian troops assault Enerhodar well into the night, allegedly vying for control of the large nuclear power plant which they claimed to have captured yesterday.
The Russians have yet to make a successful attack on Mykolaiv, although ground forces appear to be surrounding the city after an advance from Kherson in the east. A recently-uploaded image shows the Ukrainian flagship, the frigate Hetman Sahaidachny, scuttled in Mykolaiv harbour — this may indicate that the Ukrainians anticipate the loss of the city in the near future.
Russian trucks were allegedly ambushed in the Kherson countryside during the early morning of day eight, which likely indicates the operation of territorial defence units as guerrillas (allegedly a significant part of their training). Further footage shows Russian vehicles destroyed near Voznesensk by territorial defence units. Voznesensk is 80km in advance of Mykolaiv.
Further footage shows what appears to be a Ukrainian SU-24 strike against a Russian convoy. Russian combat air patrols are again conspicuously absent.
According to recent reports, a Panama-registered Estonian-owned cargo vessel has sunk with 4 unaccounted for, after allegedly striking a sea mine near Odessa.
A line of Russian assault ships was sighted close to the coast near Odessa; observers anticipate a Russian amphibious landing may occur in the region over the next 24 hours.
Satellite images show a large gathering of Russian air forces in Belarus, at three airbases near the Ukrainan border. Assemble forces include dozens of fighter jets and attack helicopters, alongside at least one IL-76 transport plane. The obvious conclusion is that Russia is preparing a significant co-ordinated airstrike within the near future.
Perhaps more remarkable than the gathering of air assets itself is the rapidity with which this is acquired by satellite and broadcast on social media. The amount of surveillance over Ukraine is so intense that old-school cryptography seems almost entirely futile; Russian movements are tracked within hours or minutes of starting. The Eros-B satellite that produced this image has a rapid tasking time of 90 minutes, for example.
Considering that Western military intelligence will have access to a greater deal of surveillance than that which is available on social media, it is quite likely that the West and Zelensky are better informed about Russian military movements than Putin himself.
Photo Credit: Фото Дмитрий Муравский, Ukrainian Ministry of Defence
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