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The Ukrainian offensive in the Kherson and Donetsk regions New developments at the front, in detail
While the official Kremlin is busily annexing Ukrainian regions on paper, Ukraine’s armed forces are conducting a major offensive in the Kherson and Donetsk areas. Please note that, during a war, fact-checking all the incoming information for complete accuracy takes time. This report reflects our best understanding of what’s currently happening at the front, and may be amended in the future.
The Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a major offensive in the Russian-occupied Kherson region. On October 2, President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that the Ukrainian military had liberated the village of Arkhanhelske on the Ingulets River, as well as the village of Mirolyubivka. A photo, presumably from Mirolyubivka, showed the Ukrainian troops by a national flag hoisted over one of the buildings. That Ukrainian forces had gained control of Mirolyubivka and most of Arkhanhelske has been known since early September.
The Ukrainian army is also conducting an offensive along the Dnieper. According to reports from pro-Kremlin war correspondents, the Ukrainian forces have already occupied several settlements, from Novovorontsovka (on the border with Dnipropetrovsk oblast) to Mikhailivka, located 25 kilometers (or 15.5 miles) away, or possibly even further. In the past 24 hours, they advanced by about 15 kilometers (or 9.3 miles).
The Ukrainian forces have also recaptured the village of Dudchany. “We couldn’t stabilize the front,” said the pro-Kremlin war correspondent Roman Saponkov, stationed in the Kherson region, in the evening of October 2. Another correspondent for the Russian side, Yuri Kotenok, said around the same time that the Ukrainian military had occupied Dudchany. The pro-Russian Telegram channel Rybar claims that, as of 11:00 a.m. on October 3, the Russian military had lost their positions near the village of Zolota Balka. The Ukrainian forces, meanwhile, had fortified along the Novovorontsovka–Novoolexandrivka highway, and were advancing towards Dudchany.
The Ukrainian side planned to break through to the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant near the village of Dudchany. According to Volodymyr Saldo, the head of the Russian-backed administration of the occupied Kherson Region, that plan was not successful. Nevertheless, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that Ukrainian troops managed to “cut into the depths” of the Russian defense in the Zolota Balka–Oleksandrivka direction.
On October 2, evidence emerged that Ukrainian soldiers had probably entered the villages of Kreshchenivka and Osokorivka. (A distinctive watermelon monument near Osokorivka is seen in the photos and video that emerged.) Ukrainian sources also circulated a video supposedly shot in Zolota Balka. On October 3, a photo with a Ukrainian flag and military personnel, presumably in the village of Mykhailivka, was also circulated in the Ukrainian media.
The Ukrainian armed forces are stating that the situation in the Kherson region is “gaining momentum.” “We’re continuing to fight and to secure the liberated territories that are being cleared,” said Natalia Humenyuk, a representative of the Defense Forces of southern Ukraine, on October 3. According to her, Ukrainian forces are proposing to evacuate the residents of nearly 45 settlements located along the front line and vulnerable to Russian strikes.
At the same time, the deputy head of the Russian-backed administration of Kherson Region, Kyrylo Stremousov, said that “everything is under control” in the Kherson direction, despite the Ukrainian military’s attempts to break through. “We are deflecting all attacks,” he said. Stremousov also stated that the Ukrainian military had suffered heavy losses.
Earlier, the Ukrainian army had cut off the bulk of the Russian forces in the Kherson region from supply lines, following successful attacks on bridges across the Dnieper.
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In the Donetsk region, the big event of the past few days has been the Ukrainian capture of the city of Lyman on October 1.
The Ukrainian forces approached the outskirts of Lyman on Friday, September 30. Between two and three thousand Russian soldiers were in town at the time, Serhiy Cherevaty, a spokesman for the Ukrainian forces fighting in the east, told the New York Times.
Initially, according to Cherevaty, the Ukrainian command planned retake Lyman quickly, since the vastly superior Ukrainian army forces had almost completely surrounded the city. The Russian army, however, sent reinforcements. Fierce fighting erupted in the forests, and on the banks of the Siverskyi Donets River. Bodies of dead Russian soldiers and their burnt equipment remain scattered on the roadsides outside the city, writes the Wall Street Journal.
Serhiy Cherevaty states that the Russian retreat was chaotic, often involving small groups of soldiers hiding in the woods. Many of the Russian servicemen were killed or captured. On the evening of October 1, Ukrainian police organized patrols in Lyman and began searching for Russian soldiers who might have remained in the city. By noon on October 2, Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Lyman was “completely cleared,” but many Russians were still believed to be hiding in the surrounding forests.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that Russian troops withdrew from Lyman “to more favorable positions,” “due to the threat of being surrounded.” Aleksandr Kots, a military correspondent for Komsomolskaya Pravda, reported that the Russian troops retreated in stages, faced with a Ukrainian offensive of 23,000 men – several times the number of the Russian forces.
The loss of Lyman was followed by Ramzan Kadyrov’s statement, in which he blamed Colonel Gen. Alexander Lapin, commander of the Central Military District, for the retreat.
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