Ukraine takes swaths of territory, despite Russia’s mobilisation
In the 32nd week of the war, advances in east and south show Kyiv is maintaining its counteroffensive momentum, while Moscow is pulling back forces from Crimea.
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Russia’s mobilisation of 200,000 conscripts seems to have had no impact during the 32nd week of the war, as Ukrainian forces recapture more territory in the east and south of the country.
On September 30, Ukrainian forces advancing from Izyum surrounded Lyman in the eastern Donetsk region and recaptured the town the following day. The spectacular encirclement of the strategic town and an expanse of surrounding territory trapped Russian personnel trying to flee.
Ukraine’s general staff said its forces discovered a convoy of civilian cars near Shchastya with 200 Russian soldiers from the Second Army Corps in it, escaping Lyman.
“There has been a decrease in the level of moral and psychological state of enemy personnel, leading to numerous instances of soldiers … abandoning their positions,” said the general staff.
The fall of Lyman came on the very day Russia fielded new troops from its September 21 compulsory mobilisation.
In an address to the Ukrainian people on October 3, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said these Russian reinforcements were already being killed.
“Among the dead occupiers, we can already see those who were taken just a week or two ago. People were not trained for combat, they have no experience to fight in such a war,” Zelenskyy said.
“But the Russian command just needs some people – any kind – to replace the dead. And when these new ones die, more people will be sent. This is how Russia fights. That’s how it will lose, as well.”
Lyman was considered a major logistics hub for Russian forces. In Ukrainian hands, it could speed up counterattacks in the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces and strengthen partisan action behind enemy lines.
Meanwhile, the militia of the pro-Russian self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic said it had repulsed “repeated attempts” by Ukrainian forces to break through to the oil refinery at Lysychansk, the last city to fall to Russian forces in that region on July 3. The militia also reported “fierce battles” for neighbouring Kreminna.
Despite this, Russian forces in the east doggedly stuck to an advance towards Bakhmut, a transport node in Donetsk they have been trying to capture for weeks.
Three days after the fall of Lyman, Ukraine’s southern forces scored a major victory, too, advancing 30km (18.6 miles) down the west bank of the Dnieper River – their most rapid advance of the war.
In a single attack, they destroyed 31 Russian tanks, Ukraine’s southern command said. The following day Ukrainian marines recaptured Davydiv Brid in the Kherson region, and a separate advance into Kherson from the west retook the town of Myrolyubivka.
Russian military correspondent Alexander Sladkov told Rossya1 television station that 17 towns had returned to Ukrainian control.
Should it continue, Ukraine’s recapture of the west bank of the Dnieper River could leave an estimated 25,000 Russian soldiers stranded.
“The fact we have broken through the front means that … the Russian army has already lost the ability to attack, and today or tomorrow, it could lose the ability to defend,” Oleh Zhdanov, a military analyst based in Kyiv, told the Reuters news agency.
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