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Bad News: Is Russia Back on the Offensive in Parts of Ukraine?

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TOS-1 firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

What happens in Ukraine Next? Exactly one month ago, reports of Ukraine’s surprise counter-offensive was proving so successful that many analysts suggested Russian forces in the region were doomed. As Russian troops withdrew and “regrouped,” analysts from the Institute for the Study of War said that the loss of Izyum “dooms” the initial Russian campaign plan at this stage of the war.

According to British intelligence, however, Russian forces are regaining some ground in the central Donbas and have likely begun advancing into some villages to the south of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast.

Ukraine: What Does the Intelligence Say?

According to the British Ministry of Defence, pro-Russian forces have made tactical advances towards Bakhmut over the last three days. The update, shared on Twitter, also described how the 2nd Army Corps, a pro-Russian militia in Luhansk had “likely advanced into the villages of Opytine and Ivangrad to the south of the town.”

Pro-Russian forces did claim on Thursday to have captured the two villages.

British intelligence also suggests that the gains were delivered thanks to the help of Wagner Group mercenaries, who reportedly remain heavily involved in the conflict in Bakhmut.

The intelligence also offers an insight into how Russia sees the slow progress in Donetsk, describing how the Kremlin “likely views seizing Bakhmut as a preliminary to advancing on the Karmatorsk-Sloviansk urban area,” the biggest population center in Donetsk Oblast that is controlled by Ukrainian forces.

These were the first tactical advances made by the Russians in the Donbas region since July, but that doesn’t mean Ukraine’s advances have ceased.

Kyiv Still Making Gains

According to comments by Serhii Haidai, the head of the Luhansk Regional Military-Civil Administration, the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to move forward in Luhansk – a region that was almost entirely controlled by the Russians just a few weeks ago.

During a national telethon, Haidai claimed that Russian forces were building defensive structures across Luhansk Oblast in preparation for a fresh counteroffensive from the Ukrainians.

“The military is doing its job clearly, according to the plan. You know, the Ukrainian plan and the Russian plan are completely different things. The Russian plan is something that happened by chance. The Armed Forces are really achieving their goal,” Haidai said. “Seven populated areas have been liberated today. We are moving forward little by little, but we will not talk about further actions.”

Little in the way of Ukrainian advances in Donetsk Oblast have been confirmed in recent days, however, and it’s really just a matter of time before we know whether Russia will use the hundreds of thousands of largely untrained reservists to its advantage in the region.

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TOS-1A firing. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Gary Jacobs

    October 15, 2022 at 11:03 am

    You left out the next part of the intel assessment on Russian advances in Bakhmut. Spoiler alert, it isnt good for Russia. Here is the next sentence to complete the quote:

    However, its overall operational design is undermined by the Ukrainian pressure against its northern and southern flanks, and by severe shortages of munitions and manpower.

  2. Friend

    October 15, 2022 at 1:46 pm

    What they tried to do in Kiev was what the U.S. did in Baghdad. It was a kind of a Thrust-offensive-capture-the-flag operation where if they could keep the Hostomel airport and reinforce it, they could then capture Kiev. Of course, the Russians are morons and it didn’t work.
    They lost their entire VDV special paratrooper unit in that attempt.
    There aren’t really any russians in this war. They literally have to go around chasing people with butterfly nets.
    Mostly it’s a bunch of leftover brain raped turk/romanian idiots waving Soviet flags and the Revenge of the Nerds Gone Wrong mafia who are armed with long distance ammunition

  3. marcjf

    October 16, 2022 at 2:56 am

    I am keeping an eye on the Kherson fighting as that is the key area and possibly the last big battle of significance before the mud sets in properly. Oddly both sides are being tight lipped about what is going on, though as I write I have not seen any real evidence of UAF advances that might begin to indicate that the Russian position is compromised. But that could occur given the forces – reportedly 60,000 men – that the UAF have committed.

  4. Enfield

    October 16, 2022 at 5:33 am

    AFU forces are very vulnerable in Kharkiv Oblast, very vulnerable.

    The AFU must throw in everything they have to keep Bachmut, i.e. get reinforcements from Kharkiv oblast. It undeniably looks bad for the AFU in the future. This situation can result in catastrophic casualties for AFU and once again they might lose large areas.

    Very difficult for the NATO command that leads the AFU operation to sort this out. All the talking and laughing about how the Red Giant is already beaten.

  5. James

    October 16, 2022 at 6:47 am

    When you get rid of your Russophobia, I will tell you who the real morons are.

  6. Tamerlane

    October 17, 2022 at 3:27 pm

    The “institute for the study of war” is run by committed neoconservatives and liberal interventionists have been consistently wrong on every major strategic endeavor of the United States for 25 years, and who seek American entry into the conflict.

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