Ukraine Conflict: Day 38

As the Russian withdrawal from Kiev continues, Ukraine has reoccupied significant swathes of territory. Russia’s next move in this war will determine the next phase of the conflict; if the withdrawn troops are redeployed to another front such as Sumy or Kharkiv, as many speculate, there could be a renewal of aggressive operations and a more intense period of conflict. 

Alternatively, Ukraine may be forced to go on the offensive in order to reclaim occupied territory in the south and east of the country. Whether their defensive successes can translate into a successful strategic offensive remains to be seen. If the withdrawal is a genuine ‘de-escalatory’ move, however, there may yet be a resolution to the conflict at the negotiating table.

Withdrawal From Kiev

Ukrainian forces have regained control of Chernobyl, and appear to have re-occupied territory right up to the Belarussian border, north of Kiev and west of the Dnieper. A Ka-52 attack helicopter was captured after being abandoned at Hostomel, presumably due to damage.

As Russian troops abandon the countryside east of Kiev, a number of destroyed or abandoned vehicles are documented by advancing Ukrainian forces.

A large column of Russian equipment was recorded withdrawing from Homel towards Minsk, the Belarussian capital.

Fighting Around Kherson

Fighting continued on the Kherson front, with shelling south of Kryvih Rih and explosions outside Kherson. The area appears to have been subject to a concerted Ukrainian counterattack over the past week. This front is now the only Ukrainian territory occupied by Russia west of the Dnieper river, which is a formidable geographic barrier even for 21st Century warfare.

Shelling the Luhansk Front

Shelling has taken place across a 100km-wide front near Lysychansk, possibly signalling a large-scale operation in this sector by Russian and separatist forces. The red marks in the following map are roughly indicative of shelling along this sector.

Shelling Near Kharkiv

Extensive shelling with artillery, mortars, tanks, and MLRS rockets has taken place on the outskirts of Kharkiv, potentially covering a Russian operation or withdrawal in this sector. During five weeks of fighting, the Russians have been repulsed from the city numerous times.

Between Kharkiv and Kiev, Myrhorod Airbase was hit by three Russian missiles. Preliminary reports suggest there were no casualties. Russian missile attacks on Poltava and Kremenchuk appear to have caused significant infrastructure damage. The Russian Ministry of Defence claims to have attacked a refinery in Kremenchuk, while targeting airfields in Dnipro and Poltava.

Following the destruction of Oskil dam on day 37, a number of towns and villages near Izyum (south of Kharkiv) are experiencing severe flooding.

Foreign Aid

According to US state media — I mean, CNN journalists — the US is expected to ‘facilitate’ the transfer of T-72 tanks from NATO allies to Ukraine, in order to assist an armoured counteroffensive against Russian-held territory. 

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