Look how the same white thick cross has come back on Ukrainian vehicles and propaganda channels
The Balkenkreuz (bar cross) was the common sign on German Panzer on September 1, 1939, when began the invasion of Poland and WW2. The symbol later evolved and remained until 1945
In the context of the Russian special military operation for liberation of Donbass, demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, the Ukrainian forces start on September 7, 2022, an offensive in the north. For the first time since February, the Balkenkreuz appear as the common sign on their vehicles
The similitude is not a coincidence. Since the takeover in Kiev and then, the war in Russian-speaking Donbass, in 2014, the Ukrainian official national heroes are WW2 characters, Nazi collaborators, genocidal nationalist militants, fighters against Soviet Union
On August 30, the Ukrainian forces have started a first offensive, in the south, in order to threaten the referendum which would return these regions to Russia, seize Zaporojie nuclear power plant (ZNPP). Less than a week after, the operations has appeared as a bloody failure.
- September 7-9, 2022
A second offensive begins on September 7, in the north, between Kharkov and Izyum. The Ukrainian actions are often PR operations and in this case, the strategic goal is unclear. The NATO military support should be warranted after the failure in the south, morale should be boosted. US State Secretary Anthony Blinken visits Kiev on September 8. In case of success, the move may corner Russian forces to Oskol river, indirectly threaten the Russian flank on the main battlefield, in Donbass
According to later analysis and reports, the Ukrainians have managed to set a 4 to 1 local balance of forces, while the global one is about 3 to 1. Another asset is likely the concentration of the best troops and last Western material
The assailants are seeking to magnify the psychological impact of the offensive, many amateur videos are broadcasted on social networks, as soon as September 7. Most infantrymen are wearing the blue armband of the national guard, while others are bearing the green color of Kraken, the penal formation of Nazi Azov regiment. The mission of these paramilitaries is likely the breach of the first Russian defensive line, while regular armored units are gathered at a second echelon.
The clock is ticking and against all odds, crack troops of the Russian national guard withstand more than 24 hours in Balakleya, that the Ukrainians outflank. On September 9, more than 48 hours after the beginning of the offensive, the assailants reach Oskol river and the outskirts of Kupyansk, about 75 km northeast of Balakleya. Meanwhile, Russia has brought reinforcements and its assets, artillery and air forces, are treating military targets up to Chuguev, the rear base of the offensive. Strategic bombers Tu-22M are involved
My feeling is that in view of an economical collapse, the West has gambled the cheap Ukrainian blood in an attempt to stop the Russian special military operation. Both sides seem to have made the choice of a major challenge in now Kupyansk salient. In an article titled Liberated Ukrainians embrace troops on lightning advance near Kharkiv, Politico writes
[…] The move to impose a stranglehold around Izyum, a town with a pre-war population of 46,000, has rekindled memories of a major encounter fought in almost exactly the same territory in World War II. It was here that the Germans delivered a major blow with Operation F[r]edericus against Joseph Stalin’s Red Army, which overreached and suffered some quarter of a million dead and wounded […]
I salute the Washington DC based newspaper for this relevant comparison with a Nazi offensive, in the same area and direction, in May 1942. Let us sing the Panzerlied if you wish, but let us not forget that the commander of the Germans was Adolf Hitler. Sadly, Politico does not report that two civilians have been killed today in downtown Donetsk, the heroic capital of a Russian-speaking separatist republic, where the Ukrainian artillery is deliberately shelling residential areas for eight years, now with Western weapons and ammunition. Such action is yet terrorism.
In the evening, columns of ambulances are leaving Kiev for the front line, more than 500 km to east, where later in the night, Russian 220 mm multiple rocket launchers (MRLS) Uragan are still pounding the Ukrainian positions.
- September 10, 2022
At dawn, on September 10, Russian reporter Semyon Pegov reports from Krasny Liman, Donetsk People’s Republic, about 100 km south of Kupyansk. Ukrainian mechanized forces are crossing Donets river and approaching the town from the south. The whole offensive looks now like the outline of a double envelopment, which would target the Russian forces around Izyum. No better news in the morning from Kupyansk, where Ukrainian national guards are broadcasting photos. They are bearing the flag of the 1st battalion, 92nd mechanized brigade. No sign of damage, the Russian forces have withdrawn from the town, to better defensive positions on the right (east) bank of Oskol river. The offensive has not yet stalled
Later on September 10, Ukrainians publish new amateur videos, unarmored motorized recce elements appear at the gates of Izyum. The situation is clearer. Unlike my first feeling, Russia has not decided to defend what is still Izyum salient, a less important area in regard to Donbass or the south. Obviously, no troops were pulled back from the significant battlefields, but neither enough reserves were brought from Russia to defend Izyum. The mission of the reinforcements is to enable a safe retreat and to stake the Ukrainian advance : to inflict severe casualties to the assailants. That was my job during military service. Russia has declined the annihilation battle that Ukraine is seeking, like the historic one Politico has mentioned, when the Nazis attacked at the same place in 1942.
Ukrainian casualties are indeed severe and like in Odessa or Nikolaev a few days ago, the health services are asking for blood in Kharkov. Ukrainian official channels, the national police for example, many other private ones, are also threatening the accomplices of the Russian forces. Special purpose police formations have slaughtered civilians in Bucha late March, early April, many civilians are now fleeing the approach of the Ukrainian forces.
In the evening, all attacks have been repelled in Donetsk People’s Republic, Donbass. To the north, the assailants have not yet occupied Izyum, maybe the fear of a trap. The Russian artillery is still pounding them in the open, where their offensive has brought them. According to unofficial reports, a new Ukrainian concentration has appeared in the vicinity of Ugledar, Donetsk People’s Republic, may attack somewhere southwest of Donetsk, north of Mariupol
- September 11, 2022
On September 11, the Russian defense ministry estimates that Ukraine has lost about 4,000 dead service members and 8,000 wounded ones since September 6, during its offensive operations in the region of Nikolaev (south) and Kharkov (north). No significant attack is reported in Donetsk People’s Republic, where the Russian forces are still snacking the Ukrainian entrenchments, missiles and air operational strikes are targeting as elsewhere the Ukrainian concentrations. On social networks, the Ukrainian propaganda channels are sharing footage of flag raising in every single liberated village in Kharkov region. Russian channels are sharing reports and videos about the wide retreat in the north, where servicemen are protecting columns of civilian refugees against Ukrainian DRG (destruction and recce groups). These refugees are a humanitarian tragedy and a major issue for Russia, the confidence of the population, in view of the forthcoming referendum in the south.
In the evening, the Ukrainian forces occupy Izyum, that the Russians and many refugees have already left, while Kalibr missiles are striking some power stations across the country, which is mourning its dead service members on social networks. Here is the representative of a platoon which has lost 17 men out of 22. On his chest, Meine Ehre [German lesson for Politico staff…] HEISST TREUE, the motto of the Schutzstaffel (SS)
Night has come in Ukraine, where according to Ukrainian channels, the light is poor, except some ablaze critical infrastructure, here in Kremenchug, left bank of the Dnieper
Deenergization in Kharkov
Later in the night, the Russian artillery is still shelling the enemy positions in the vicinity of Ugledar, southwest of Donetsk, north of Mariupol, an important area, where according to unofficial reports, the Ukrainians are clearing their own minefield.
On September 12, after 4-5 days, 4 until the last significant attack in Donetsk People’s Republic, 5 until the occupation of Izyum, that the Russian forces had already evacuated, the new Ukrainian counter-offensive has stalled.
The Ukrainian forces has seized about 3,000 square km, in the emptiness. The larger town is Izyum, 45,000 inhabitants before the Russian special military operation. These gains are close to Russia border, in northeastern Ukraine, that the Russian forces may storm once more.
The Ukrainian casualties are huge, about 12,000 dead and wounded, has estimated the Russian defense ministry, in comparison to marginal Russian loss. The Russian command has decided not to defend that insignificant area, not to conduct there an annihilation battle. The sole drawback of the retreat is psychological, especially the confidence of the population, in view of the forthcoming referendum in the south.
The Russian forces had seized Izyum in March, in order to outflank the Ukrainian entrenchments in Donbass. That mission has been achieved and the latter are now attacked from three sides. That second Ukrainian counteroffensive has not disturbed the Russian operations in Donbass and the previous one is still a bloody failure in the south.