Way back in late July, I wrote about the much discussed but not particularly existent (even yet) Ukrainian offensive to take back Kherson, the only Ukrainian city conquered by the Russians that is west of the mighty Dnieper River. At the end, I speculated:
Or it could be that the far from secret Kherson offensive is intended as a distraction for something else the Ukrainians have up their sleeve.
But in an age of constant satellite and drone surveillance, can anybody actually pull off feints and occluded offensives anymore? We haven’t seen a lot of brilliant stratagems in this war yet. That may have less to do with the inadequacies of the leadership than with technological evolution of surveillance leading to an era in which battles turn into tests of strength that both sides can see coming a long way off.
Apparently, you can still fool some of the people at least some of the time, because this week, after the Russians had been reinforcing Kherson, the Ukrainians launched their most successful offensive of the war, rolling 30 miles into previously Russian-held Ukraine far to the north of Kherson in the Kharkov Oblast, threatening the major logistics hubs of the Russians’ in the northeast.
Reports of the last 60 minutes say that both the key rail junction of Kupiansk and (perhaps) the forward hub of Izium (which can only be supplied by rail through Kupiansk) have fallen to Ukraine’s offensive. But those (especially Izium) are unconfirmed at this point.
Update: Now there is chatter about the Russians pulling out of Lyman as well:
So we now know that the Ukrainians can go on the offensive. That’s an important development.
Also, we now know the Russian invaders don’t seem to have much of a do-or-die spirit when stressed.
But, can you blame them? After all, Ukraine is not their country; they’ve got their own country to go home to.
Feel free to prove me wrong by posting in the comments the entire transcript of Mr. Putin’s two-hour speech about why Ukraine isn’t really a real country. (Please use the “[More]” button, though.)
Well, perhaps it wasn’t a real country back then. I’m no expert on Ukrainian history.
But it is now.