Ukrainian forces launched an unexpected attack on Tuesday in the southeast of the Kharkiv region. This is reported by both Russian and Ukrainian sources. Around noon, reports began to emerge of a Ukrainian attack on Balaklia, a Russian-held town about 43 kilometers southeast of Kharkiv in the country’s northeast.
Gray Zone, a popular Russian war blog, said it had spoken to both open and private sources who confirmed the attack by Ukrainians. The server added that the Ukrainians may have managed to seize key bridges that allow them to strengthen their forces near the city.
The attack comes from an unexpected direction. So far, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have tried to put pressure on the enemy in the Kherson region in the south of the country. According to some reports, the Russians concentrated there the best troops they had available. The Ukrainians are trying to cut off their way back across the Dnieper River.
On the other hand, the Russians tried to occupy Kharkov and its surroundings from the beginning of the war. This is also why the Ukrainian counterattack in this area is surprising. One of the pro-Russian sources claimed on the telegram that there was “no panic” and that reinforcements had been sent into the city. He stated that there was no “profound breakthrough”. Pro-Ukrainian sources, on the other hand, report heavy Russian losses. Official confirmation of the operation was not immediately available, according to the Telegraph.
Anton Gerashchenko, a former Ukrainian MP told the Ukrainian public that “the news is good”. “We all decided to continue the operation. They promise good news from the direction of Kharkiv, maybe from Balaklia,” said Gerashchenko.
Strategic studies expert Phillips P. Obrien from the prestigious University of St. Andrews said that if they really caught the enemy by surprise with this operation, it shows the weakness of the Russian military. “I assumed that with all the various surveillance devices (from satellites to drones to cyber and more) that such an operational surprise would be essentially impossible,” OBrien said on Twitter.
“In addition, it is only a short distance from the border with Russia. If this hasn’t occurred to the Russians, their military is in much worse shape than I expected. On the contrary, it would be a good sign that the Ukrainian army is in great shape,” added OBrien.
The Ukrainian armed forces reported that the city of Kharkiv was again targeted by Russian bombing on Tuesday, leaving at least three people dead. In the afternoon, rescuers searched for survivors in a five-story building that was almost completely destroyed by a Russian missile, the armed services reported on Twitter.