Even though Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in June, not much has changed in the real world since Russia’s invasion nearly two years ago.
The most recent advancements are as follows:
- To establish a foothold that would enable it to move essential equipment across the river, Ukrainian forces have continued their ground operations on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River.
- Verified advances have been made by Russian forces in the east, north, and east of Kupiansk, north and east of Bakhmut, and south and west of Avdiivka.
- Additionally, Russian forces have moved closer to Robotyne, a southern village that Ukraine retook early in its counteroffensive.
Ukraine maintains a foothold across the river
Heavy fighting is reportedly still going on in the vicinity of the village of Krynky, which is located about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the city of Kherson. Ukraine has continued its ground operations on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River.
After Moscow’s forces left Kherson a year ago, the river has kept Ukrainian and Russian forces apart, as Ukraine first declared in mid-November.
Despite Russian counterattacks, according to analysts at the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Ukrainian forces have held their positions.
Should Ukraine manage to maintain control over the region, it could potentially make noteworthy progress by facilitating the transfer of armored vehicles and air defense systems across the river. This would bring Ukraine one step closer to achieving victory over Crimea, the peninsula that Russia unlawfully annexed in 2014.
A comparable stepping stone might be the village of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region, although there have reportedly been some advances by Russian forces there.
It was hoped that once Ukraine retook Robotyne in August, its forces would be able to cut off the land corridor leading to Crimea, thereby complicating Moscow’s supply routes.
The ISW does point out that Ukrainian forces may have retreated to “more defensible positions” close to Robotyne in response to Russia’s advances.
Russian advances in the east
Russia has also advanced north-east of Kupiansk, north of Bakhmut, and south-west of Avdiivka. The activity surrounding Avdiivka, a strategically significant town on the front line in eastern Ukraine, is arguably the most significant.
The town is sometimes referred to as the entry point to Donetsk, a city that Russia and its proxies have controlled since 2014. By seizing the nearby Avdiivka, Russia would be able to advance the front line and make it more difficult for the Ukrainian forces to retake the area.
According to the Ukrainian General Staff, Russian attacks have been repulsed by Ukrainian forces in the vicinity of Avdiivka as well as from settlements west, northwest, and immediately west of the town.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) believes that resupplying the town would “become increasingly difficult for Ukraine” if Russian forces were to seize control of the plant, which is located on the town’s northwest outskirts and dominates the main road into Avdiivka.
It states that the building provides Ukraine with a “localized defensive advantage” and that any attempt by Russian forces to take over the facility is likely to result in severe casualties.
However according to the ISW, Russia has made verified advances close to the town, and multiple Russian sources indicate that Russian forces are attempting to drive Ukrainian troops from their positions in the strategically important Avdiivka Coke Plant.
The Battle for Bakhmut
Even though Ukraine gained some ground in the surrounding areas over the summer, the battles in Bakhmut, which has seen some of the bloodiest fighting of the war, have continued for several months under Russian control. Russian forces have advanced north of Bakhmut.
The Ukrainian General Staff says settlements in the area – including Klishchiivka and Andriivka – are continuing to come under artillery and mortar fire.
Despite Russia’s reported recent advances along the front line, the UK MoD says the individual attacks are relatively small – “rarely above platoon size”, and adds: “A major Russian breakthrough is unlikely, and overall, the front is characterized by stasis.”
More than a year of fighting
Before dawn on February 24, 2022, Russia launched dozens of missile strikes on cities across Ukraine, initiating its invasion.
Russian ground forces advanced swiftly, taking over vast swaths of Ukraine in a matter of weeks and reaching the city’s suburbs.
In addition to encircling the port city of Mariupol and capturing territory as far east and south as Kherson, Russian forces were also bombarding Kharkiv.
However, they encountered fierce resistance from the Ukrainians almost everywhere and encountered significant logistical issues with unmotivated Russian troops who were short on supplies of food, water, and ammunition.
Western-supplied weaponry, like the Nlaw anti-tank system, which proved to be extremely effective against the Russian advance, was also swiftly deployed by Ukrainian forces.
By October 2022, things had drastically changed, and Russia had completely withdrawn from the north after failing to seize Kyiv. Not much has changed in the real world since then.