Ukraine Takes Back Klishchiivka

Commander Syrskyi knows what he is doing.

Shankar Narayan
5 min readJun 24, 2024

There are three vital locations that Ukraine cannot afford to lose because surrendering them would concede tactical and strategic advantages to the enemy.

Losing any territory is detrimental since reclaiming it is exceedingly difficult.

However, losing Vulhedar, Klishciivka, and Kupiansk has the potential to create a ripple effect across all sectors. The fall of Avdiivka and its fortified defensive positions enabled Russia to seize a significant amount of territory in the region. The three locations I mentioned will similarly have profound consequences.

Unfortuntely, Ukraine lost control of Klishchiivka in the last week of May. It was bad news and I duly delivered it.

Ukraine has driven the Russian forces out of the town.

This was the position of Russian troops in the town on May 25th:

The Russian armed forces were driven out recently. This is the current position.

During the first week of June, the Russian army moved its 85th motorized brigade to the town’s border, but they couldn’t prevent the Ukrainians from evicting Russian soldiers in Klischiivka. Since this location has been a focal point of prolonged conflict between both sides, the back-and-forth made me wonder why the Russians didn’t attempt to reinforce the area by sending more troops instead of vacating the town they had just captured.

It made me question if they were becoming overstretched. If so, it would likely be evident in other areas as well. Therefore, I checked ISW’s assessment today to see if there has been a noticeable slowdown in Russian advances across the map.

This is what I gathered using ISW’s recent report.

  • In Kharkiv Oblast, Ukrainian forces launched counterattacks in the north and northeast of Kharkiv City. Russian military bloggers claimed to have repelled Ukrainian advances in the crucial settlements of Hybloke and Vovchansk. Ukrainian armed forces also reported that elements of Russia’s 25th Motorized Rifle Brigade are being withdrawn after suffering substantial losses of troops and equipment, rendering the brigade ineffective on the front lines.
  • In Luhansk Oblast, Russians attacked along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line but did not make any verifiable advances.
  • In Donetsk Oblast, Russian forces attacked in the direction of Siversk and Chasiv Yar but also did not make confirmed advances. Ukraine reported a Russian advance of approximately 2 kilometers near Shumy, a small settlement near the Donetsk Oblast frontline. The ongoing advance in the Avdiivka sector has nearly halted. I want to wait for another week before declaring that the Russian armed forces have run out of breath to keep up their offensive momentum.
  • In Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Russians made a minor advance near Robotyne. However, movement in this sector remains exceedingly difficult due to a year-long stalemate.

In summary, it is evident that Russian forces are not making significant advances. They lost the critical settlement of Klischiivka, failed to advance near Chasiv Yar, and made minimal progress in the Avdiivka sector.

Then how exactly did they manage to lose 1,300 troops yesterday and 1,270 troops the day before.

They are paying a price and have nothing to show in return?

Under what circumstances can this happen?

There can only be one reason: Russians are suffering such heavy losses in the northeast that it’s beginning to affect their forces across the entire frontline. To mask their weakening position, they continue launching attacks in multiple locations using reserve troops from the sector.

This would have been an opportune moment for Ukraine to inflict significant damage on the Russian troops, especially with a robust supply of artillery shells. Unfortunately, the Czech-sourced artillery shells have yet to arrive at the frontline. I anticipated their arrival by mid-June, but the Czech Prime Minister mentioned they would reach Ukraine this week.

As for the quantity of shells arriving, that remains undisclosed. According to a Financial Times report from May 30th, shells sourced from Asia and Africa were reportedly of poor quality and require further preparation before being sent to Ukraine.

Michal Strnad, owner and chair of CSG, told the Financial Times that about 50 per cent of the parts acquired by his company on behalf of the Czech government in places such as Africa and Asia were not good enough to be sent to Ukraine without further work. For some shells, CSG is being forced to add missing components from its own production. “Every week the price is going up and there are big issues with the components,” Strnad said during an interview in his company’s Prague offices. “It’s not an easy job.”

Will we manage to slow down the shifting momentum in Ukraine’s favor?

It’s difficult. Very difficult to predict.

Regarding sourcing, the Czech Republic identified suppliers for the shells. Nations pledged contributions, but as usual, EU nations were quick to promise and slow to part away with money.

March, April, May, that’s three long months to secure something that’s only 50% adequate. The primary issue was that EU nations did not promptly release funds; their sluggishness allowed Russia to intervene and purchase some supplies to prevent total allocation to Ukraine.

However, the pooled funds now total an estimated 1.6 billion Euros, and orders have been placed. Now, CSG (Czechoslovak Group), Czech Republic’s domestic weapons manufacturer, must refurbish the shells before shipping them to Ukraine.

Ukraine likely has a timetable for delivery and may risk using existing stockpiles rather than conserving them, assuming a significant quantity of shells is already undergoing refurbishment in the Czech Republic. Consequently, the impact on the frontline shouldn’t be overly concerning.

What can be done about Europe’s failure to act swiftly?

The EU’s bureaucracy, comprising 27 nations, slows decision-making. Unlike a dictatorship, where one person decides and forces every one to toe the line, democratic processes require paperwork and persuasion. It almost always eats up time.

There’s little to be done other than to adapt. Delays are inevitable. Ukraine’s best response is to maintain a reserve of one to two months’ supply and ensure it remains untouched. Ideally, this reserve should be stored across the border, possibly in Poland.

I’m frustrated by this slowdown, which is self-inflicted. However, I won’t blame the Czech Republic. They needed funds to procure the artillery shells and made this information public to pressure EU nations into contributing money. Russia intervened upon realizing this, slowing down the process — a harsh reality of war.

https://ko-fi.com/shankarnarayan

Thanks for reading. Making critical information on Ukraine accessible is one way to fight misinformation. That’s why I’ve made 210 stories free to the public in 2024, including this one. Feel free to share it with anyone.

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Shankar Narayan

He didn't care what he had or what he had left, he cared only about what he must do.