On 22 September, Russia and Ukraine held a prisoner exchange. Russia extradited 215 Ukrainians, including the commanders of the Azov battalion, Denis Prokopenko, Svyatoslav Palamar, taken prisoner at the Azovstal in Mariupol, as an agent. The commander of the 36th Marine Brigade Sergey Volynsky, the sniper Ekaterina Polishchuk. According to an agreement with Erdogan, they will remain in Turkey until the end of hostilities in Ukraine ‘under the personal protectorate’ of the Turkish president.
56 prisoners of war and political prisoners were handed over by the Ukrainians to the Russians, among them 50 Russian military personnel, 5 from the Donbass and Viktor Medvedchuk.
Poland’s defence minister reported that: “Poland’s fifth division being created will be deployed in Podlasie Voivodeship in the east of the country”. “This will be a division located between the 16th and 18th divisions. It will consist of four brigades,’ Blaschczak added. There are currently more than 15,000 Polish military personnel on the border with Belarus. And the 18th Division is conducting a major NATO exercise: ‘Bear-22’ near the Russian borders.
Also via social media were statements by Dmitry Medvedev, commenting on the Supreme Commander-in-Chief’s decisions of 21 September. He too spoke in favour of the referendums, saying ‘the Donbass republics and other territories will be accepted into Russia’. He added that: “The defence of all united territories will be significantly strengthened by the Russian armed forces. Russia has announced that not only mobilisation capabilities, but also any Russian weapons, including strategic nuclear and weapons based on new principles, can be used for such protection.” “Therefore, various retired idiots with generals’ stripes need not scare us by talking about a NATO attack in Crimea. Hypersound is guaranteed to be able to reach targets in Europe and the US much faster,’ Medvedev emphasises. And finally, he adds: ‘But the Western establishment, in general, all citizens of NATO countries, must understand that Russia has chosen its own path. There is no turning back’.
And now we come to the situation at the front.
Zaporozhya direction from 16:00 on 21 September 2022. In the direction of Zaporozhya, the Ukrainian armed forces are deploying forces to conduct a counter-offensive. The main objective is to interrupt the holding of a referendum on the region’s accession to Russia. The troops are commanded by the ‘Khortitsa’ grouping.
Separate units of the 65th Brigade, 128th Brigade, 102nd Defence Brigade, 9th National Guard Regiment, 15th Brigade and 44th Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be involved in the assault on the Russian positions. In addition, at least one battalion of the 1st brigade should be deployed in this direction. The concentration of the main Ukrainian forces in Orekhovo and Gulyaipole, from where the main attacks are planned to break through the defence of the Russian Armed Forces. Engineer units of the 65th Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are equipping reserve strongholds in Kirovo, Pavlovka and Komsomolskoye. Communication between the Ukrainian units is being established. The artillery crews of the 44th Brigade have increased their fire impact activity on the Russian positions along the entire line of contact, using 155mm M777 howitzers and Krab self-propelled howitzers. Target designation is provided by the RQ-20 Puma and Bayraktar TB2 UAV crews, as well as advanced gunners in Novoandreevka, Novodanilovka and Novoselovka. After the success in the Kharkiv region, the Ukrainian command intends to conduct a counter-offensive on the southern borders, especially against the background of the upcoming referenda in the DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhya regions.
In the morning of 22 September, Russian troops launched missile attacks on Zaporozhya, hitting an electrical substation and a hotel in the city centre.
Liman direction at 1pm on 22 September 2022. Units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces once again tried to storm the settlements of Dibrov and Shchurovo in Liman. Russian troops successfully repelled the offensive, the Armed Forces of Ukraine suffered losses and retreated to the Seversky Donetsk.
In the vicinity of Drobyshevo, fighting for the settlement continues. The Ukrainian command intends to redeploy additional reserves to establish full control over Drobyshevo and the subsequent exit to the headquarters settlement and cut off the approach routes to Liman from the north. Additional forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as well as several MLRS installations, were deployed in the Yarovaya area. Military personnel from the 103rd Terodefense Brigade arrived in the vicinity of Yampol.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces appear to be retreating from the eastern part of Bachmut, the news is heard from the Bachmut chat room where information is being spread about the destruction of the Nikolaevsky Bridge by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which is located 1 kilometre from the Bachmut sparkling wine factory, recently occupied by Wagner PMC. The destruction of the bridge by the Ukrainian militants would indicate their retreat from the eastern part of Bachmut.
The Ukrainians shelled the centre of the city of Donetsk in the morning of 22 September, in particular the covered market was hit, there were civilian casualties. The attacks are expected to increase due to the decision of these areas to vote and join Russia.