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Balakleya encirclement opens way to Kupyansk for Ukrainian Armed Forces, threatens Russian army with “cauldron” near Izyum

The Ukrainian army has gotten the Russian-occupied town of Balakliia in the Izyum district of the Kharkiv region in operational encirclement, taking advantage of the redeployment of Russian forces towards Kherson. This may open the way for the Ukrainian Armed Forces to the town of Kupyansk and subsequently create for the Russian army a threat of a “cauldron” near Izyum. Officially, the Ukrainian General Staff did not report on the operation. However, according to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and The Insider sources, the Ukrainians were able to at least seize Verbovka, as well as several other settlements.

ISW suggests that the AFU attack on Balakliia was made possible by the Ukrainian offensive in the Kherson region. The Russians moved some forces there, and as a result the Ukrainians were able to at least take Verbovka, while the Russians retreated to the left bank of the Seversky Donets and across the Balakliika River, blowing up bridges in their wake.

By destroying the river crossings, the AFU have effectively completely deprived the Russian occupation forces of food and ammunition supplies, The Insider source notes. This makes it possible to successfully develop offensives and lure Russian reserves closer to Kherson. While the main attention of the Russian military command was drawn to the events in the Kherson direction, Ukrainian troops managed to set up two crossings over the Seversky Donets River and regain control over the village of Ozernoye in the Donetsk region. The northern grouping of Ukrainian forces also liberated the settlements of Bazalievka and Lebyazhye.

Yesterday the Ukrainian Armed Forces mapped out two small “cauldrons” north and south of Balakliia. At present the Ukrainian forces are developing another operational direction: Volkhov Yar - Shevchenkovo. The capture of these population centers will make it possible to establish military control over the town of Kupyansk, one of the most important logistical hubs for the occupants’ northern grouping. The possible capture of Kupyansk by the AFU will set a new front line along the Oskol River, and the Russian battalion tactical groups advancing on Izyum and Slavyansk will end up in operational encirclement, with the AFU on one side and the watercourses (the Oskol and Seversky Donets rivers) on the other. The grouping of Russian troops will be forced to retreat from the northern and eastern parts of the Kharkiv region.

The Insider’s correspondent claims that Russian troops began using 100-millimeter KS-19 anti-aircraft guns dating back to the 1940s, which have been officially withdrawn from service. Also, the AFU’s trophies include Ukrainian BTR-4Es and “antique” BTR-152 armored personnel carriers from the 1950s.

Earlier, Ukraine launched a counterattack in the Kherson direction: the AFU took Novovoznesenskoye, an aide to Ukrainian MP Roman Zavgorodnyy reported.

Alexander Kots, a war correspondent of the propaganda newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, has written in his Telegram channel that fighting is going on along the line of Verbovka, Yakovenkovo, Taranushino and Volkhov Yar villages; he also admits a successful Ukrainian counteroffensive. According to him, if the Ukrainian Armed Forces advance through Shevchenkovo to Kupyansk, the “Izyum grouping” will be cut off from the mainland, and the military will have to retreat east across the Oskol: “This is certainly a process that cannot be completed overnight, but we hope that the Ukrainians will not be able to build on the success of the past 24 hours.”

At the same time, photos showing the Ukrainian military with a flag at the town entrance and “trophy” equipment of the Russian troops have appeared on social media.

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The anonymous Twitter account of the OSINT journalist Status-6 posted footage of an alleged Su-25 fighter jet downed by Ukrainian servicemen near Volkhov Yar using a man-portable air defense system.

A video of the alleged destruction of a Russian S-300 missile system near Balakliia also appeared online.

On September 6, fierce fighting broke out near Balakliia, as AFU fighters launched a counteroffensive. The AFU occupied the northwestern part of the village of Verbovka, divided into two parts by the river. AFU colonel in reserve, military expert Roman Svitan confirmed to The Insider that the AFU was conducting counteroffensive actions; on Tuesday evening he claimed that the “Izyum grouping” of the Russian troops was almost completely surrounded. According to him, the Russian Federation supplied its grouping via Kupyansk from the Russian cities of Valuiki and Belgorod via two railroads. On the morning of September 7, Russian propaganda Telegram channels reported that fighters from the Samara and Bashkir special rapid response units (SOBR) were trapped inside a “cauldron” near Balakliia. For example, the Rosich channel reported at 10:13 pm that the Samara SOBR fighters were surrounded and stopped making contact. His next post about the SOBR near Balakliia ended with the words, “Samara! Bashkiria! Pray for them.”

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