The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Ukraine: Combat Reported at Borodyanka

Posted on | March 27, 2022 | Comments Off on Ukraine: Combat Reported at Borodyanka

Just a single mention of fighting in a key crossroads town 45 miles northwest of Kyiv in this report from regional police, and we have no further details. However, as I mentioned Friday about reports of fighting at Nemishaeve, if the Ukrainian counter-offensive that recaptured Makariv were continued successfully, we would soon hear about fighting at Borodyanka, about 15 miles north of Makariv.

The same regional police report also mentions that fighting continues at Makariv, which may mean that Russian forces are dug in near there and trying to hold on, but if Ukrainians are also attacking at Borodyanka, the Russians remaining near Borodyanka would likely be cut off from supplies and reinforcements. Last night after we did our podcast, I was grumbling about the difficulty of getting timely accurate reports about the tactical situation near Kyiv, and John Hoge made the observation that the Ukrainian command could be limiting this information because of operational security concerns. Apparent confirmation of that can be found in this New York Times report, where several journalists made a tour of villages near Kyiv where the Russians had been driven out: “Russian forces were still just four miles away, but the commander asked that the village names not be published to safeguard his positions.” So we don’t know what areas the journalists toured, but if I had to guess, I’d point to Myla, 20 miles west of Kyiv on the E40 highway, and 8 miles south of Irpin. We know the Russians are holed up in a “pocket” around Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel, all of which are still contested, although the Ukrainians claim to have recaptured most of Irpin.

The battles in the east and south of Ukraine — Kharkiv, Mariupol, Kherson — may be larger than the ones near Kyiv, and in some ways equally important, but the fight to drive back the Russians near Kyiv is crucial to the war’s ultimate outcome. Putin and his commanders expected in the beginning (and many Western intelligence estimates agreed) that the Ukrainian capital would fall within a week, after a “shock-and-awe” attack that included an airborne capture of the Hostomel air field. Those expectations of a quick capture of Kyiv proved misguided, because the Ukrainians fought with more determination and skill than anyone had thought they would, and because the Russian army was so surprisingly inept. As recently as a week ago, however, it still seemed that the Russians might be able to bring forward their heavy artillery and begin raining down shells on Kyiv.

Now, however, it seems the tables have turned. The Ukrainians are now counterattacking, the Russians are on the defensive, and if Ukraine can maintain the momentum, they could either force a Russian retreat or perhaps even surround and destroy the invaders near the capital.



Comments are closed.