The Donbass republics are moving to hold referendums that should officially bring them into the fold of Russia. State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin, on 20 September, spoke on live TV about referendums in the Donbas: ‘If the residents of the Donbas and Ukraine express in a free expression of will that they want to be part of Russia, we will support them,’ Volodin said.
In the meantime, the Kherson region administration has decided that the Kherson region will become part of the Russian Federation, the head of the region’s VGA Volodymyr Vasylovych Saldo announced. The man appeared on TV with this message. Should he be arrested by Ukrainians in the future, he faces up to 15 years in prison under the new laws issued by the Ukrainian Rada. The referendum on the accession of the LNR and DPR to Russia will be held from 23 to 27 September.
For several days there has been discussion in the social media sphere about how to go about voting. “Referendums,” one post reads, “are a sign of the irreversibility of Ukraine’s further disintegration. Delaying the process plays against Russia’s objectives in the Ukrainian RSS. Security problems can be partly solved by actively introducing remote, electronic or postal voting (as in the US), and by stretching referendums over several days to avoid crowds that could be targets of terrorist attacks’.
And indeed, delaying the vote in the territories that want to leave Russia for now has been the fear of attacks and bombings while at the ballot box: ‘Of course there will be terrorist attacks and bombings, but with a process that extends over time, some of which is in a distant format, Ukraine will not be able to stop them with terrorist methods. The opinion of the West is absolutely irrelevant here, so you can ignore their ‘recognition and non-recognition’. What matters is what will be de facto, not what is said in Washington’. Read more in the channel discussion
And now we come to the fronts: Situation in the direction of Donetsk as of 18:00 on 19 September 2022.
The Ukrainian command is attempting to contain the advance of Russian forces in the Avdiivka sector, while continuing to bombard civilian facilities in the Donetsk agglomeration. In an attempt to curb the advance of Russian forces in the defensive lines, Ukrainian forces are firing indiscriminately on Donetsk, Yasynuvata, Sladkoye, Marinka, Peski and Staromikhailovka.
Over the past few days, Ukrainian formations have made regular counter-attack attempts (up to five per day) on Marinka and Peski. During the fighting, the units of the Ukrainian 115th Brigade and 79th OdshbR are suffering significant losses in terms of men and equipment, achieving practically nothing. The Ukrainian Donetsk grouping command has withdrawn the remaining units of the 115th Brigade to Novoselidivka, where the mobilised citizens have also arrived. The surviving personnel of the 115th brigade, together with the reserve, will be transferred to the 56th infantry brigade. Their accelerated training is being conducted in the Sukhi Yaly and Druzhkivka firing ranges.
The Donetsk Directorate is receiving long-range 155mm artillery, including M109 and CAESAR self-propelled howitzers, to hold the lines it occupies. In the Ugledar sector of the front, the Ukrainian Armed Forces expect an offensive by Russian forces in Pavlovka with further access to Ugledar. Reconnaissance UAVs are in operation to monitor Russian troop movements.
According to Wargonzo’s war correspondent, Russian troops are still in the eastern part of Kupiansk. The entrances to the city are constantly shelled.
The Ukrainian armed forces continue to unsuccessfully attempt to advance in the direction of Kherson. In the area of Ternoviye Pody, in the Mykolaiv Oblast, the Ukrainians launched a significant force of mobilised soldiers in the attack on the positions of the Russian forces.
On the morning of 20 September, Ukrainian sources confirmed that the Russian front on the Oskol River in the Kharkiv region was standing. The Russian Defence Ministry speaks of 120 Ukrainian soldiers killed in this line.
The settlements of the Borovska community in the Kharkiv region, on the right bank of the Oskol river, have been captured by the Ukrainians, while the settlements on the left bank are under the control of the Russian Armed Forces. According to the Borovka settlement council, Borovaya itself is in Russian hands. In summary, if these figures were correct, the Kiev media wrote: ‘The left bank of the Oskol river near Borovaya remains under Russian control’.