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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 205: Izium Massacre: mass graves with over 400 bodies discovered

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 205: Izium Massacre: mass graves with over 400 bodies discovered
Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Russians shelled the Bakhmut district, Kryvyi Rih, the Kirovograd Oblasts. The Ukrainian army destroyed a Russian military base in Nova Kakhovka. Documenting the war crimes of the Russian military continues in liberated Izium. Mass graves with over 400 bodies discovered; estimated 1,000 casualties. The European Parliament voted to allocate 5 billion Euros in financial assistance to Ukraine. The funds are the second tranche of the package for a total of 9 billion Euros. Germany to send Ukraine two universal launchers M270 MLRS, 200 missiles and 50 Dingo ATF armored personnel. Kremlin-linked Russian private military company Wagner Group has been conducting a campaign to recruit Russian convicts for service in Ukraine since at least July.

Daily Review, September 16 2022

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, September 9, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below. 

Situation in Ukraine. September 15, 2022. Source: ISW.

The two-hundred-fifth (205) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military invasion continues.
The enemy continues to focus its efforts on disrupting the active actions of our troops in certain directions, maintaining the temporarily captured territories, and attempting to completely occupy the Donetsk oblast.
The enemy is shelling our positions along the contact line, is trying to take measures to regroup troops in separate directions, conducts aerial reconnaissance. There remains the threat of air and missile strikes throughout the territory of Ukraine.
The enemy strikes residential areas and civilian infrastructure objects, violating the norms of International Humanitarian Law, laws, and customs of war. Over the past day, the infrastructure of more than 30 settlements has been damaged by air and missile strikes and the use of anti-aircraft missiles by the enemy. In particular, Kostyantynivka, Druzhkivka, Kupiansk, Siversk, New York, Mariinka, Hulyaipole, Myrne and Velike Artakove.
The enemy launched 11 missile strikes, 15 air strikes and fired 96 MLRS strikes at objects on the territory of Ukraine.
The situation has not changed in the Volyn and Polissya directions.
In other directions, the enemy fired at the infrastructure from tanks and artillery of various types:
in the Siverskyi direction – in the area of ​​the settlement of Luhivka, Sumy oblast;
Kharkiv Battle Map. September 15, 2022. Source: ISW.
in the Kharkiv direction, in particular from the territory of the russian federation – in the area of ​​Hoptivka, Kozacha Lopan, Mala Vovcha, Zybyne and Strilecha;
Donetsk Battle Map. September 15, 2022. Source: ISW.
in the Sloviansk direction – Dvorichna and Horokhovatka;
in the Kramatorsk direction – Pryshyb, Tetyanivka, Kryva Luka, Ozerne, Piskunivka, Raihorodok, Starodubivka, Bilohorivka, Siversk, Rozdolivka and Spirne;
in the Bakhmut direction – New York, Lyman, Mykolayivka Druha, Zaitseve, Odradivka, Soledar, Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Yakovlivka and Vesele;
In the Avdiivka direction – Mariinka, Krasnohorivka, Pervomaiske, Avdiivka and Vodyane.
The enemy did not conduct active operations in the Novopavlivsk and Zaporizhzhia directions. Fired along the entire contact line.
In the South Buh direction, the impact of enemy artillery fire was recorded along the entire line of contact. In addition, the occupiers carried out aerial reconnaissance by UAVs and carried out 34 flies of operational-tactical aircraft to launch strikes on the territory of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. September 15, 2022. Source: ISW.
The enemy is trying to hide massive losses after the fire damage inflicted by the Defense Forces on the places of concentration of russian troops. As a result of effective high-precision strikes in the areas of Kherson, Vasylivka, Perevalsk and other settlements, the corpses of russian soldiers were taken away in overcrowded trucks.
Defense forces of Ukraine successfully repelled attacks in the areas of Odradivka, Zaitseve, Bakhmut, Vesela Dolyna, Avdiivka and Novomykhailivka.
During the past 24 hours, in order to support the actions of the land groupings, the Air Force of the Defense Forces carried out 18 strikes on the places of concentration of the enemy’s manpower and equipment. It was confirmed that 13 strongholds, areas of concentration of weapons and military equipment, and 5 positions of air defense complexes were hit. Enemy losses are being clarified.
Air defense units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed two UAVs of the occupiers in different directions.
Units of the Missile Troops and Artillery inflicted fire on 3 areas of concentration of enemy manpower and combat equipment. Enemy logistics hubs and pontoon crossings fell into the affected area.

Military Updates 

Shelling by the Russian troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Russians have exhausted their offensive potential – military analyst Kovalenko

Regional Updates

In the Donetsk Oblast, Russians shelled the Bakhmut district. A staircase of a five-story building was destroyed, residents under the rubble.

In the Kharkiv Oblast, in the liberated territories, the Ministry of Internal Affairs mobile service centers began to work. More than 400 houses damaged by shelling in Kharkiv cannot be restored. 150,000 people have lost their roof over their heads.

“Izium is a few Borodyanka in terms of destruction and a few (at least two) Buchi in terms of the number of civilian casualties,” said Advisor to the head of the Ministry of Defense Oleksii Kopytko.

In the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Russians shelled Kryvyi Rih targeting ​​hydraulic structures. In the Ingulets River, the water level decreased by 40 cm and continued to fall following the measures taken by the emergency services. After the previous missile attack on Kryvyi Rih, the water level in the Ingulets River rose sharply.

In the Kirovograd Oblast, the Russian troops shelled the city of Kirovograd.

In the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the Russians hit an infrastructure. No casualties reported.

In the Kherson Oblast, the village of Kiselivka is in the “gray zone,” fighting is ongoing, said the head of the Mykolaiv administration Vitaly Kim.

In the Odesa Oblast, Russians launched missiles that were intercepted by the Ukrainian air defense.

In the temporarily occupied Crimea, a volunteer battalion of 1200 people has been organized.

In Russia, in the Belgorod region, at the Ukrainian border, a customs building caught fire. According to the governor of the Belgorod region, “the Ukrainian military destroyed the building of the customs terminal and the gas station.”

According to British Defence Intelligence, (last 48 hours): 

  • Kremlin-linked Russian private military company Wagner Group has been conducting a campaign to recruit Russian convicts for service in Ukraine since at least July. Prisoners have been offered commutation of their sentences as well as cash incentives.
  • This has been reinvigorated, with recently posted video highly likely showing Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin making a recruitment pitch to prisoners. In the video, Prigozhin emphasises that he is only seeking ‘fighters for assault units’. Separately, Russian military academies are shortening training courses and bringing cadets graduation dates forwards. This is almost certainly socadets can be deployed to support the Ukraine operation.
  • The impact of Russia’s manpower challenge has become increasingly severe. The acceleration of officer cadets’ training, and Wagner’s demand for assault troops suggests that two of the most critical shortages within the military manning crisis are probably combat infantry and junior commanders.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 16 September, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

Losses of the Russian Army in Ukraine.  Nato Mission in Ukraine.


Mass grave with 440 bodies found in the Kharkiv Oblast, in one of the cities in the de-occupied territory.

Documenting the war crimes of the Russian military continues in liberated Izium. A group of prosecutors, police, and SBU investigators started to record the war crimes of the Russian military. About 1,000 reportedly dead.

A program of free vaccination, chipping and sterilization of pets has been launched in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Small Animal Veterinary Association (USAVA) has launched a program for pet owners. Carried out with the assistance of the International Fund for Animal Welfare IFAW, it is intended to support Ukrainians.

The residents of Russian-occupied Mariupol protest the lack of water and electricity. According to the mayor’s adviser Pyotr Andryushchenko, the dissatisfaction of local residents continues to grow and has already led to the dismissal of the head and chief power engineer. “People are left to fend for themselves in the center of the Left Bank without water and electricity… A wave of social discontent is spreading across Mariupol,”


IAEA demands Russia immediately stops hostilities at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The Council of the International Atomic Energy Agency adopted a resolution demanding that the Russian Federation immediately cease operations at the ZNPP and withdraw its forces from the territory of the station. It was supported by 26 out of 35 countries. China and Russia voted against, while seven other states abstained. The Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN called the document “anti-Russian.”

The Odesa regional prosecutor’s office opened criminal proceedings on the fact of ecocide, accusing Russia of the death of mammals.


Germany to send Ukraine two universal launchers M270 MLRS. Berlin will also send 200 missiles and 50 Dingo ATF armored personnel carriers to Kyiv.

The European Parliament voted to allocate 5 billion Euros in financial assistance to Ukraine. The funds are the second tranche of the package for a total of 9 billion Euros.

The US imposes sanctions against Ramzan Kadyrov and members of his family.

The European Union will allocate 100 million Euros to Ukraine for the restoration of schools, said the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

The European Parliament voted for the allocation of 5 billion Euros in financial assistance to Ukraine. The funds are the second tranche of the package for a total of 9 billion Euros. 534 out of 590 deputies voted in favor.

The European Parliament has given the green light to allocate €5 billion in macro-financial assistance to Ukraine, Radio Liberty journalist Rikard Jozwiak reports.

The Lithuanian government approved the decision to send two batches of armored personnel carriers to Ukraine. According to the country’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, the first batch of equipment will arrive in Ukraine in the near future.

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen met with Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmygal to discuss the convergence of the Ukrainian and European economies. “This is my third visit to Kyiv since the beginning of the war between Ukraine and Russia. So much has changed. Now Ukraine is a candidate (to join the European Union),” the head of the EC said.

Zelensky and von der Leyen discussed the Ukraine’s capacity to supply electricity to the European Union. Bringing Ukraine to the common EU power system, will allow Europe to receive cheap Ukrainian electricity, and Ukraine will be able to reach the budget.

EU to allocate 150 million Euros to support internally displaced persons, said Ursula von der Leyen.

New Developments 

According to the survey, in September only 8% of Ukrainians are ready to make territorial concessions to the Russian Federation, down from July 10%. 87% of those polled believe that no territorial concessions are acceptable. Even in the east, the area of intense battles, 85% are against concessions

The US still refuses to transfer ATACMS long-range missile systems to Ukraine. The Biden administration still believes that providing ATACMS systems with a range of up to 300 km could lead to an escalation since they can be used to attack Russian territory.


  1. On the war. 


The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Saturday 15 September 2022:

Ukrainian forces are continuing counteroffensive operations in eastern Ukraine, increasingly pressuring Russian positions and logistics lines in eastern Kharkiv, northern Luhansk, and eastern Donetsk oblasts. Russian sources reported that Ukrainian forces are continuing ground operations southwest of Izium, near Lyman, and on the east bank of the Oskil River, reportedly compelling Russian forces to withdraw from some areas in eastern Ukraine and reinforce others.[1] Russian forces in eastern Ukraine will likely struggle to hold their defensive lines if Ukrainian forces continue to push farther east.

The Kremlin is responding to the defeat around Kharkiv Oblast by doubling down on crypto-mobilization rather than setting conditions for general mobilization. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov called on all federal subjects to initiate “self-mobilization” and not wait on the Kremlin to declare martial law.[2] Kadyrov claimed that each federal subject must prove its readiness to help Russia by recruiting at least 1,000 servicemen instead of delivering speeches and conducting fruitless public events. Russian propagandist Margarita Simonyan echoed the need for Russians to volunteer to join the war effort, and several loyalist Russian governors publicly supported Kadyrov’s speech.[3] The Russian-appointed head of occupied Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, announced the formation of two volunteer battalions on the peninsula in support of Kadyrov’s calls.[4]

The defeat around Kharkiv Oblast prompted the Kremlin to announce a Russia-wide recruitment campaign. Kremlin officials and state media had not previously made country-wide recruitment calls but had instead tasked local officials and outlets to generate forces ostensibly on their own initiative. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov vaguely welcomed the creation of the battalions on July 12, while 47 loyalist federal subjects advertised and funded the regional volunteer battalion recruitment campaign.[5] A prominent Russian milblogger and a supporter of general mobilization praised officials such as Kadyrov for taking the recruitment campaign from the ineffective Russian Ministry of Defense; this recruitment revamp is likely to secure more support for the Kremlin among nationalist figures who are increasingly critical of the Russian MoD, even if the drive does not generate large numbers of combat-effective troops.[6]

The Kremlin has likely abandoned its efforts to shield select federal subjects from recruitment drives, which may increase social tensions. ISW has previously reported that the Kremlin attempted to shield Moscow City residents from reports of the formation of the Moscow-based “Sobyaninsky Polk” volunteer regiment.[7]  Russian opposition outlet The Insider noted that several groups in the republics of Buryatia, Kalmykia, Tyva, and Yakytia (Republic of Sakha) are publicly opposed to the Kremlin’s emphasis on recruitment on an ethnic basis.[8] Simonyan’s statement about “self-mobilization” prompted numerous negative comments among Russians calling on Russian oligarchs to pay for and fight in the war.[9]

The Kremlin has almost certainly drained a large proportion of the forces originally stationed in Russian bases in former Soviet states since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February, likely weakening Russian influence in those states. A Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) investigation reported on September 14 that the Russian military has already deployed approximately 1500 Russian personnel from Russia’s 201st Military Base in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, to Ukraine since the full-scale invasion began and plans to deploy 600 more personnel from facilities in Dushanbe and Bokhatar, a southern Tajik city, in the future.[10] RFE/RL additionally reported on September 13 that Russia has likely redeployed approximately 300 Tuvan troops from the Russian Kant Air Base in Kyrgyzstan to fight in Ukraine at varying points since late 2021.[11]

The withdrawals from the Central Asian states are noteworthy in the context of border clashes between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Tajik and Kyrgyz border guards exchanged fire in three separate incidents on September 14, killing at least two people.[12] The uptick in violence between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, both of which are members of the Russian-controlled Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), comes alongside renewed aggression by Azerbaijan against CSTO member state Armenia. Russian forces also withdrew 800 personnel from Armenia early in the war to replenish losses in Ukraine, as ISW has previously reported.[13]

Key Takeaways

  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in eastern Ukraine.
  • The Kremlin is responding to the defeat around Kharkiv Oblast by doubling down on crypto-mobilization, rather than setting conditions for general mobilization.
  • The Kremlin has almost certainly drained a large proportion of the forces originally at Russian bases in former Soviet states since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February, likely weakening Russian influence in those states.
  • Russian and Ukrainian sources reported Ukrainian ground attacks northwest of Kharkiv City, near the Ukrainian bridgehead over the Inhulets River, and south of the Kherson-Dnipropetrovsk Oblast border.
  • Russian-appointed occupation officials and milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted a landing at the Kinsburn Spit (a narrow peninsula of the Crimean Peninsula).
  • Russian forces conducted limited ground assaults and are reinforcing positions on the Eastern Axis.
  • The Russian proxy Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) is likely attempting to stop its administrators from fleeing ahead of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, demonstrating the bureaucratic fragility of the DNR.

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