Peter, in order to keep under control the acts of Swedish army, organized the "main body", commanded by Sheremet. It consisted of three infantry divisions — Sheremeteva, Allart, Rentselya and cavalry units Goltz, Rennes, Iflyanda. Sheremet decided to lead his troops parallel to the Swedish army to immediately cover the central regions of the Russian Federation and to be able to operate in Ukraine. However, in the Russian army de facto absent monarchy — Menshikov was in no hurry to join the main force, the commanders of the cavalry units, with the winner taking the example of Peter, also admitted liberties.
October 17 Swedish army again approached STARODUB, but did not venture to attack him and passed by. October 23 Swedes had passed and Novgorod-Seversky, without becoming its siege and braked at the crossing of the river Desna.
At that time, Ukraine has undergone fundamental action. Hetman Troops Zaporizhia both sides of the Dnieper Ivan Mazepa defected to the Carla. The pupil of the Jesuit School of Warsaw, a nobleman, composed at the court of the Polish king, who received a beautiful education — he studied in the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and France, the climber by nature, he just changed owners. But the courage to go over to Sweden only when decided that victory will be Carl. Mazeppa dreamed to make a "self-possession" under the patronage of Poland or Sweden. It should be noted that most of the Cossacks, including the Cossack elders, and the people did not succumb to the adventurous acts Mazepa. When the end of October with the Hetman Mazepa fled to the Treasury Charles, was encamped on the south-east of the Novgorod-Seversky, in Gorki, he's been less than 1.5 thousand Cossacks. Mazeppa Cossacks promised to support Carl and food and military supplies Baturina (hetman's residence).
Peter on October 20-21, sent on the connection with the main forces of the Guard, infantry and cavalry regiments, rested and replenished after the Battle of the Forest. Himself arrived at headquarters on October 26. October 27 came the sad news about the actions of Mazepa. October 30 was called a council of war, which was supposed to respond to this attack. The Russian command correctly assessed the importance of Buchanan. It was decided to immediately send Baturina special unit under the command of Menshikov and take it up to the arrival of the Swedes. 31 October 20-25 thousand housing Menshikov arrived at Baturin has 2 November 1708 rate of Hetman was taken and destroyed (it was defended by 7-8 thousand Serdyukov detachment under the command of Colonel Dmitry Chechel). Slap defeat Baturinsky garrison was of great importance. In 1-x, a bold assault occurred almost under the noses of the Swedish army, had an enormous psychological significance, as the Swedes, and the population of Ukraine, including wavering people. In 2-x Swedish lord of lost military base for the upcoming war, which had huge supplies of food and military supplies. November 5 Gluhove under pressure Peter was elected as the new Hetman — Colonel Skoropadskyi.
Charles at this time decided to move the Desna, grab the Ukraine and await the arrival of reinforcements from Poland. In addition, the Swedish monarch was planning an alliance with the Ottoman Empire and the Crimean Khanate. The Swedish army was to winter in Ukraine, occupying a large area between Priluki, Romney, and Gadyach Lohvitsa. In winter, it became quite clear that the residents of Ukraine do not support Mazepa and Carla. Swedish command and failed to make up for their much depleted force (lost up to a quarter of the initial composition). The Swedes ravaged the countryside in search of food, just trying not to get involved in a big fight, to save the main force.
Russian forces also began to get into winter quarters on the Swan and Sum. In December, in Poltava, Russian garrison was stationed. Peter, too, like Karl, coast main force, cautious, trying to kill the part of the enemy's strength "small war." In addition, Peter was engaged in the strengthening of a number of villages Fri — Romaine, Sorochinets, Romney and Poltava.
Of comparable significant operations in winter 1708 can be identified for maneuver training Romain. Peter organized a demonstrative coming to Gadyach where there were three Swedish regiment, once part of the troops under the command of Allart sent to Romney. We planned that if Charles would leave Romney and moves to rescue Gadyach, the troops under the command of Allart capture Romni; otherwise, Allart join the assault Gadyach. Karl, as expected, moved to rescue Gadyach and Allart on the night of December 18 took Romney. Swedish king had to narrow the winter quarters to the area between Sula and Khorolya, the avant-garde in Gadyach.
First, in January 1709, Karl with the best regiments attacked the fortress Veprik. Swedish army suffered a loss, both at a decent battle, died color of the Swedish officers. At the end of January 1709 the Swedish master ran in coming across the river Vorskla. His goals are unknown exactly. Maybe Karl just wanted to push for Vorskla Russian cavalry, which continued to harass the Swedes and move troops to the new apartment. But, there is the view that the Swedish monarch put a more important strategic disposition task — to storm and capture the Belgorod or Kharkov. The venture failed. Peter moved his troops from Sum to Akhtyrka, and taking advantage of the spread of Swedish forces at the front is 100 km in depth, threw a detachment under the command of Sheremeteva in the rear of the enemy. Soon Carl graduated movement.
In March, the Swedes and Mazepa fled Cossacks led by Konstantin kosh Gordienko. He led the Swedes 8 thousand squad. First, in April, Karl personally conducted reconnaissance at Poltava, and found it a profitable location for links to Zaporozhye and the Crimea. Swedish master decided to take the fortress and used it as a base for future operations. By the end of April, Carl began to pull troops to Poltava.