#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. Kharkiv, Ukrainians advance 20km. Kherson: Sorbi, Italian journalist saved by Russians

131

Conflicting reports continue to arrive about fighting on the outskirts of Balakleya and in the Shevchenkovo area. The Ukrainian armed forces have placed the Ukrainian flag on the town council (central street) Balakliya apparently, the advance is coming from Verbovka.

There is still no complete clarity on the front line north of Balakleya. On the afternoon of 8 September, it was reported that the population of Balakleya had left their homes, testifying that they hoped to return to their homes, ‘We hope to return to Russia already'” very soon. Local residents were evacuated from Kupyansk, which has already been shelled by Ukrainian armed forces from HIMARS for the third day. People are leaving the city with their families.

The offensive in the Kharkiv region, launched this week by the Ukrainian armed forces, is fundamentally different from the one seen in the direction of Kherson. First of all, it is a completely different area: forests, hills, etc.; the Ukrainians struck in several directions at once, aiming to cut the Russian Izyum group off from the mainland. Its military and food supply depends on two arteries, on which the Ukrainian Armed Forces concentrated their efforts.

The Ukrainians hit Balakleya with the aim of encircling the Russians near Slavyansk, the Ukrainian command is also concentrating forces south of Izyum to hit the Russian Armed Forces in the area from the south depriving the Russian Armed Forces of the opportunity to transfer reinforcements to the more dangerous areas north of Izyum. For now, they were stopped by National Guard units. The Ukrainians circled south of the locality, taking a couple of settlements. The attackers failed to close the ring around Balakleya.

The Russian reserves that arrived in time broke through the corridor to remove the wounded and reinforced the garrison with Ministry of Defence units. The Ukrainians took up to the Chuguev-Izyum highway junction near the village of Veseloye. If the village is lost, the Izyum group risks losing supplies.

At the same time, Kiev regime forces tried to take control of the road connecting Balakliya with Kupyansk. In the section towards Volokhov Yar, they succeeded, but to the north, in the Shevchenkovo region, they encountered Russian paratroopers, who did not allow them to move further – to Kupyansk. There is a risk that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will bypass Shevchenkove and move towards the unexploited capital of the liberated part of the Kharkiv region. An audacious offensive, according to analysts, in which the Kiev command traditionally disregards losses, is also held back by the Russian air force, which operates practically around the clock.

In only three days, the Ukrainian armed forces, according to Ukrainian and Russian social spheres, have managed to advance up to 20 kilometres in some areas. Other sources speak of 30 kilometres in the territory under Russian control in the last day. The Russians are preparing a counter-offensive, taking advantage of the fact that the enemy has pulled back its artillery. According to the Russian social sphere, Kiev’s current victory carries not only a tactical but also an informational burden. Especially against the background of today’s summit of Western allies at the US air base in Ramstein, Germany, where Washington is expected to announce the supply of $675 million worth of weapons to the Ukrainian army. For this event, Kiev had to show at least some success in order to prove the effectiveness of the use of the supplied weapons. And at least Ukraine fulfilled the task.

However, in doing so, they spread into two ‘pockets’ to the south and north of Balakleya, which is now of strategic importance. If on the Russian side they fail to hold the offensive both ‘pockets’ will connect, aligning the front. If on the Russian side there is a corridor to this city and the approach of the reserves from these “pockets” it is possible to cut “cauldrons” in case our counter-offensive is launched. The situation in this area remains very difficult, but not catastrophic.

According to some analysts, after the failures with the offensive near Kherson and Kharkov, the offensive towards Balakliya is another attempt by Kiev to achieve operational success.

In the direction of Kherson, the front has stabilised. The Ukrainians seem to be exhausted almost everywhere and are unable to attack. Following the results of the battle, the American media claim that the losses in the direction of Kherson were 1 to 5 not in favour of the Ukrainian armed forces, not counting the large number of destroyed equipment. The control of several villages is clearly an inadequate price for a week-long offensive with such losses.

The Russian army, we learn via social media, saved the life of Mattia Sorbi, an Italian journalist, correspondent for Sole24Ore, Repubblica, TG1, who was sent by the Ukrainian Armed Forces along a mined road in the Kherson region. The news was given by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, which reported that ‘the Russian army in the Kherson region saved the life of an Italian journalist Mattia Sorbi’, the man was at the front line with the Ukrainian military. The Ukrainian armed forces sent an Italian correspondent down a mined road, where he was blown up, the Russians say.

Sorbi is now in serious condition, but despite this he was able to recount what happened in a video aired by Ria Novosti. According to the journalist, people in uniform of the Ukrainian armed forces offered to help him reach the front line. After putting him in the car and driving a few kilometres, they stopped and left Sorbi, pointing him to a road considered safe, where a mine exploded, killing the driver and injuring the Italian journalist. According to Russian sources, the Ukrainians wanted to pass Sorbi’s death off as a Russian attack.

In the Bachmut direction, after the capture of Kodema, Russian troops are preparing for an offensive on Zaitsevo (not to be confused with Gorlovsky Zaitsevo). So far, the village is completely under Ukrainian control. The capture of Zaitsevo, as well as Veselaia Dolina, is necessary to initiate a direct assault on Bachmut.

In the afternoon of 8 September, we learn that Wagner has attacked near Bakhmut. According to Basurin, our troops started fighting in the residential areas of Soledar (they apparently moved further into the centre from the KNAUF). The Ukrainians are defending the area, the taking of the Russians will take place house by house.

In the Pesok area, Russian troops have completed the expulsion of the Ukrainians from strongholds in the village area and are now concentrating on the assault on Pervomaisky. Fighting is ongoing on the outskirts of the city.

An observer was arrested in Energodar, who was aiming a Ukrainian Armed Forces kamikaze drone at the town administration building, authorities said. As a result of his actions, the air conditioning unit on the roof of the administration building was damaged. And again a UAV kamikaze fell on the roof of the Energodar administration building.

Graziella Giangiulio