Pushed back by the rapid Ukrainian offensive in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine, the Russians would have to dig somewhere.
And now we can start to see where.
They certainly took up position at Svatove, east of the Oskil River.
This is really important to them as Svatove controls the last good supply route from Belgorod in Russia to their forces further south.
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But the Ukrainians are now in a position to attack the P66 highway which goes south from Svatove towards Kremenna, at the northern gates of Donbass.
So the Russians are also trying to regain their positions in Kremenna, because if they can’t, then Lysychansk and Severodonetsk – remember them? – could be encircled from the north.
Thus, the next phase of this battle in the northeast is taking shape.
In the southwest, the battle of Kherson continues.
Kherson is the most important strategic objective and Russian troops are fighting to hold it.
It appears that the Ukrainians are trying to bring Russian forces elsewhere in the region into the city itself. And then probably wear them out.
Russia’s response to these setbacks has been to launch more rocket attacks against civilian targets and infrastructure.
The Kryvyi Rih dam and hydroelectric power stations have been attacked several times. There is a military logic for Russia here.
The breach of the dam floods the Inhulets River and this destroys some of the pontoon bridges the Ukrainians rely on now that they have crossed the Inhulets.
The dam is quickly repaired, pontoon bridges are replaced, and Russian attacks on the dam are likely to continue.
It’s all part of the logistics battle – without which frontline battles will always fail.
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And when it comes to logistics and support, some of the numbers are quite spectacular.
The Russians lost over 6,000 important pieces of equipment – the Ukrainians only about a quarter of that.
But these big Russian losses are still generally small in terms of the amount of equipment available. While Ukrainian casualties are a greater proportion of what they can ultimately throw into battle.
This emphasizes two fundamental issues.
The first is that Ukraine will need Western military equipment as long as it fights this war.
And second, it means we are seeing the return of industrial-scale warfare to Europe – for the first time in two generations.