After a day filled with mostly rumor and confusion, we finally know a bit more about how the newest of Russia’s major offensives is unfolding. It is a major attack; it is not the sort of highly coordinated and overwhelming campaign that Russia still insists it could pull off but which outside experts now believe is beyond the nation’s command competence. But it is a major threat, and Russia has been able to take some new ground already.
On the other hand, Ukraine has also been able to rout Russians elsewhere, as they have been doing the entire war. Russia remains overextended, reliant on long supply lines and battalions already battered in earlier fighting. It’s simply too early to say how this latest offensive will play out.
Russian attacks appear to be concentrated on areas with Ukrainian defenses that have had years to prepare, with the most likely goal being the encirclement of several eastern cities southeast of captured Izyum so that they can then be obliterated by Russian artillery strikes. Previous speculation that Russia would attempt an absurd operation to encircle the entire eastern front are, so far, not coming to pass. While it seems curious for Russia to engage in battles in the places where Ukraine’s defenses are the strongest—especially considering Russia’s poor results when encountering actual Ukrainian troops, rather than just bombing civilian neighborhoods from afar—the Pentagon suspects attacking from these long-static positions are Russia’s way of avoiding the logistical challenges that have plagued its more far-ranging advances.
Here’s your news summary for the day: