Repulsed by the rapid Ukrainian offensive in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine, the Russians will have to dig deep somewhere.
And now we can start to see where.
Surely they were standing in Svatove, east of the Oskil River.
This was really important to them because Svatove controlled the last good supply route from Belgorod in Russia to their forces further south.
But the Ukrainians were now ready to attack the P66 highway running south from Svatove to Kremenna, on the northern doorstep of the Donbas.
So the Russians are also trying very hard to regain their position in Kremenna, because if they can’t, then Lysychansk and Severodonetsk – remember them? – may be surrounded from the north.
So the next phase of this northeastern battle is taking shape.
In the southwest, the battle for Kherson continued.
Kherson is the more important strategic target, and the Russian military is fighting hard to keep it.
It appears that Ukraine is working to force Russian forces elsewhere in the region to return to the city. And then can wear them down.
Russia’s response to these obstacles has been to launch more missile strikes against civilian and infrastructure targets.
The dam and hydroelectric plants in Kryvyi Rih are under constant attack. There is military logic in this for Russia.
The dam break flooded the Inhulets River and that destroyed several pontoon bridges that the Ukrainians believed they now crossed the Inhulets River.
The dam was quickly repaired, pontoon bridges replaced, and Russian attacks on the dam are likely to continue.
It’s all part of a logistical battle – if there’s no front-line battle, there’s always going to be defeat.
And when it comes to logistics and support, some headline numbers are pretty impressive.
The Russians lost over 6,000 significant pieces of equipment – the Ukrainians lost only about a quarter of that.
But these large Russian losses are generally still small compared to the amount of equipment available. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s losses were greater than what they could ultimately throw into battle.
This highlights two fundamental problems.
One is that Ukraine will need Western military equipment as long as it is fighting this war.
And two, that means we’re seeing the return of industrial-scale warfare to Europe – for the first time in a few generations.