A few weeks ago, I wondered who would break first in the war in Ukraine, the Ukrainian army or the Russian army? I bet that it would be Russia, and boy did that pan out.
No, the Russian army has not been completely routed, not yet. But it has spent the month of September crumbling under a Ukrainian counterattack in the country’s northeast. The Russians have been driven back from the areas around Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, losing control of key towns like Kupyansk and Izyum and leaving behind large supplies of weapons and ammunition.
“The Russian occupiers are running so fast under pressure from Ukrainian soldiers that they’re leaving whole ammunition arsenals behind,” Ukraine’s SBU intelligence service said. “We know what to do with them and will be sure to use them according to purpose—against the enemy.”
Now the Ukrainians are closing in on Lysychansk, Sveredonetsk, and Lyman, cities that will not only relieve the threat to Kharkiv but allow the Ukrainians to take back control of parts of the Luhansk oblast where Russia has been attempting to set up breakaway republics.
The rapid advance has some over-optimistic observers speculating that this could all be over by the end of the year. Promising to have the boys home by Christmas does not have a good track record. But the Ukrainian advance seems to be limited only by the need to maintain their supply lines and provide rest for their troops—not by the strength of Russian resistance.
This is the best outcome Ukraine could have hoped for, and exactly at the time when they needed it.