Key developments on Sept. 10:
- Top US General: Ukraine has about 30-45 days for the offensive before weather worsens
- Foreign volunteers' car struck by Russian shelling near Chasiv Yar: 2 killed, 2 wounded
- Local authorities: Russian overnight drone attack wounds 4 in Kyiv Oblast
- Military: Southern forces liberate another 1.5 square kilometers near Robotyne
Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said on Sept. 10 that Ukraine likely has about 30 to 45 days for the counteroffensive before the weather worsens on the ground.
The summer counteroffensive, which has seen Ukraine liberate more than a dozen villages in Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk oblasts, is going slower than expected, Milley said, but he added that Ukraine is still "progressing at a very steady pace through the Russian front lines."
"There's still a reasonable amount of time, probably about 30 to 45 days' worth of fighting weather left, so the Ukrainians aren't done," Milley said in the BBC's Sunday program.
"I said at the very beginning of this (war) that this was going to be long, slow, hard, and high-casualty-producing, and that's exactly what it is," he added.
More than three months into the counteroffensive, raging in Zaporizhzhia Oblast and two axes in Donetsk Oblast – Bakhmut and Velyka Novosilka, Western skepticism grows as to whether Ukraine will achieve its goals set for the high-stakes operation.
Thwarted by heavily mined fields and incessant artillery, Ukrainian soldiers on the ground say that everything is done slowly to minimize casualties.
However, on Sept. 9, Ukraine's military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov told Reuters on the sidelines of the annual Yalta European Strategy (YES) conference that Ukraine plans to continue the counteroffensive no matter the weather conditions.
"Combat actions will continue in one way or another," Budanov said. "In the cold, wet, and mud, it is more difficult to fight. Fighting will continue. The counteroffensive will continue."
Foreign volunteers' car struck by Russian shelling near Chasiv Yar: 2 killed, 2 wounded
Two foreign volunteers were killed and two others were severely wounded on Sept. 9 while driving near Chasiv Yar, close to Bakhmut.
The killed volunteers were Emma Igual of Spain, the director of the NGO Road to Relief, and her colleague Anthony Ignat of Canada.
Road to Relief's two other representatives who were in the car, Swedish volunteer Johan Thyr and German volunteer Ruben Mawick, are hospitalized in stable condition after being "badly injured" by shrapnel and burns, according to a statement by the organization.
At around 10 a.m. on Sept. 9, the Road to Relief team headed toward Bakhmut from their base in Sloviansk to assess the civilian situation in Ivanivske – a village about eight kilometers southwest of the Russian-occupied city of Bakhmut.
The team came under a direct Russian attack, according to Road to Relief, flipping the vehicle over and causing it to erupt fire.
In the statement released on Sept. 10, Road to Relief said that “the Needs Assessment team are often the first to go into front-line villages to gain clarity about the current situation.”
“The team’s efforts have resulted in numerous evacuations and crucial aid deliveries over the 18 months that we have been in operation,” it added.
When Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Igual came to Ukraine and soon co-founded Road to Relief with Henri Camenen from France.
“I felt I needed to put all the experiences I had already had to good use, and to apply my humanitarian and Jewish ethos,” she told the London-based weekly newspaper Jewish Chronicle in July.
She added that she had been “extremely lucky” thus far, as she has been able to work throughout the full-scale war without “even a scratch.”
The report about more foreign volunteers’ deaths comes as Russia continues to attack civilian and near front-line areas indiscriminately, killing and wounding civilians, human aid workers, and journalists on the ground.
Earlier in May, Arman Soldin, a 32-year-old Bosnian-born video journalist with news agency Agence France Presse (AFP), was killed near Chasiv Yar by a Russian rocket fire.
In January, 28-year-old Christopher Parry from the U.K. and 47-year-old Andrew Bagshaw, a dual New Zealand and British citizen, were killed during an evacuation mission in the Bakhmut area.
Drone attack on Kyiv
Russian forces unleashed a few dozen drones toward the capital overnight, wounding four people in Kyiv Oblast and damaging scores of civilian infrastructure, the regional military administration reported on Sept. 10.
One of the victims has serious head trauma, the rest got off with light injuries.
The report said that 100 houses, 30 apartments, a kindergarten building, a town administration building, a rehab center, two stores, a storage building, and a parking lot in Kyiv Oblast were damaged.
Most of the damage consisted of broken windows and doors, with some damage to facades and roofs.
The debris from the downed drones, according to local authorities, also caused a threat to civilians in Kyiv overnight. Earlier in the day, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported that debris fell in four districts in the western part of the city.
According to the Air Force, 26 of the 33 Iranian-made Shahed drones heading toward Kyiv Oblast were shot down by the air defense. The attack, the report said, was carried out from Russia's Kursk Oblast, located about 450 kilometers north of Kyiv.
Military claims success near Robotyne
Ukrainian forces liberated 1.5 square kilometers of territory near Robotyne in Zaporizhzhia Oblast in the past 24 hours, Tavria grouping spokesman Oleksandr Shtupun said on Sept. 10.
He said that the Russians are clinging tenaciously to every square meter of captured soil, but Ukraine's defenders are making that very difficult for the enemy.
In a separate comment, the commander of Ukraine's southern forces, also known as the Tavria grouping, Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, said they have advanced by another kilometer over the past day.
According to Tarnavskyi, the Ukrainian artillery conducted 1,391 engagements in the past 24 hours.
He said that 72 Russian personnel were taken out, 149 were wounded and five were taken prisoner, while 27 units of equipment were destroyed, including three tanks. Ukrainians also took out six Russian supply depots, he said.
After months of grueling combat, Ukrainians liberated Robotyne and pierced the first Russian defensive line in the past several weeks. Western OSINT observers have reported that Ukrainian forces are now engaging Russia's second line near Verbove.
The main prong of the southern counteroffensive is pushing onto the occupied city of Melitopol. Western experts and Ukrainian commanders have noted that the Russians concentrated so much strength on the first line, their second line should be easier to penetrate.